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Knowing the signs of childhood cancer

Knowing the signs of childhood cancer could save a life A national children’s cancer charity is asking families and the medical community to be aware of the early signs of childhood cancer, as Childhood Cancer Awareness month comes to a close. Knowing the signs can save lives.

Sept. 18, 2020

Childhood Cancer Foundation Ireland notes that each year, around 200 children (aged 0-16 years) are diagnosed with cancer in Ireland. A diagnosis of childhood cancer has a devastating impact on the entire family, stopping life in its tracks. Early diagnosis has a significant impact on the treatment options and prognosis for children.

According to Laura Cullinan, voluntary Director of Childhood Cancer Foundation Ireland, and parent of a childhood cancer survivor, parents should always trust their gut instinct when it comes to their children’s health.

“My daughter Isobel was 21 months old when I was concerned about weight loss and a swollen abdomen, I knew in my heart something wasn’t right. Looking back I am so grateful to our GP and Paediatrician whose quick actions resulted in an early diagnosis of a kidney tumour (Wilms) at stage 1. This tumour generally responses well to treatment. Unfortunately Isobel relapsed with a tumour in her lung, we were lucky to have more treatment options available to her because the initial early diagnosis and response. Isobel is now 8 years old, cancer free and doing well.”

Dr Michael Capra, Consultant Paediatric Oncologist at CHI at Crumlin, reiterates that awareness of the signs is key.

“Approximately one child per week will be diagnosed with leukaemia in Ireland, with the same number again diagnosed with a brain tumour. Nobody wants to think about childhood cancer but it’s vital that parents and GPs know the signs because treatment can be very effective, particularly with early intervention.”

“The signs and symptoms can look very innocuous on their own so we are looking for persistent or recurring signs. Please remember, if your child has some of these symptoms, it does not mean that they have cancer. But it’s important that they are seen by a doctor, who can rule out a more serious problem. More than likely, it will be something minor, but we want to catch those rare cases where it’s something serious as early as possible.”

Laura Cullinan “Every year for Childhood Cancer Awareness month we stand in solidarity with the families fighting childhood cancer and the survivors. We remember the children who have died too soon from cancer and we #LightItUpGold for them and their families, by lighting landmark buildings gold and wearing gold ribbons. This year, we hope that by highlighting the signs and symptoms of childhood cancer we improve the outlook for families receiving this terrifying diagnosis.”

Childhood Cancer Foundation Ireland are also asking people to light a candle at 8pm on Wednesday 30th September and take a moment to remember children and families affected by childhood cancer.


For more information on the work of Childhood Cancer Foundation Ireland visit

For more detail on the Signs and Symptoms of Childhood Cancer visit:

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