Childhood cancers are different to those that affect adults and require very different treatment protocols. While adult oncologists are experts in their fields, many of them are not familiar with the special requirements of childhood cancers. At CHOC, we strongly recommend that any child diagnosed with cancer be treated by a specialist paediatric oncologist.
Childhood cancer is also one area where it is generally accepted that private medicine is not the preferred route. To develop the expertise required, the medical team needs to see a large number of patients and the occurrence of childhood cancer is significantly less than that of adult cancer. This has led to most of all childhood cancers worldwide being treated in public sector hospitals. Children also require a far wider range of support services that are typically available at these hospitals.
SPECIALIST TREATMENT CENTRES
Specialist treatment centres are normally attached to academic teaching hospitals which meet the standards established by SIOP (International Society of Paediatric Oncology) that can be found on the ICCCPO website.
In South Africa, there are some extremely good paediatric oncology units attached to academic teaching hospitals. These specialist treatment centres use well-established international protocols and achieve comparable results. CHOC plays an integral role in providing support to these units as we very much want to create specialist referral centres that are adequately resourced and run in accordance with international standards.
WHERE TO GET TREATMENT
Contact your local CHOC Divisions for referrals to recommended doctors. We advise that you get an opinion from a specialist paediatric oncologist and would like to remind you that you have the right to a second opinion. After all, a child deserves nothing less than the best.