Childhood Cancer in sub-Sahara Africa

Olive is a 7-year old girl living in rural Cameroon. Her parents noticed she was developing swelling in her abdomen. Within 2 weeks she also developed a growing mass on the right side of her face.

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She was brought to Banso Baptist Hospital, a facility where we have been training young doctors over the past 7 years.

A series of tests revealed that her abdominal and facial masses were caused by Burkett’s Lymphoma, which is the most common childhood cancer in Africa and 100% fatal if untreated. With a long and complicated course of chemotherapy we can save 70% of these kids.

This wonderful mission hospital supplies the chemotherapy and the hospital stay free.

Training Vera (nurse practictioner in charge of the Burketts ward) to measure fluid status in a child with Burketts

Training Vera (nurse practictioner in charge of the Burketts ward) to measure fluid status in a child with Burketts

We have been working with others to develop a protocol to increase the percent of children that survive the physically stressful chemotherapy. We have been training local staff to use the ultrasound machine to determine fluid status at the onset and during chemotherapy to prevent kidney failure which is one of the causes of death during the treatment phase.

Sweet little Olive was one of the children who survived chemotherapy without any relapse of the tumor.

We have already seen a reduced mortality with the new ultrasound guided hydration during chemotherapy in these sick, fragile children.