Physicians at 57357 Affirm: Pollution is a Health Hazard to our Children and Prevention is Possible Main Advice: Eat healthy Food. Avoid Exposure to Pesticides
In Egypt Pediatric cancer is most prevalent among children living in rural areas. Unfortunately, in many parts of our countryside, clean air and clean food are no more, partly due to widespread chemical pollution. This pollution is the result of farmers’ excessive use of pesticides, which put our children’s health at risk. It is thus important to inform and disseminate awareness among people in order to adopt adequate prevention means that would ensure our children good health.
Eating habits and behavior can contribute to prevention from disease. Let us learn from Ferial’s story.
Ferial is a 5 years old girl from Sharkiya Governorate. Her treating physician at the CCHE, Dr. Sayed Abdel Hamid diagnosed her with advanced, acute Leukemia. I met Ferial and her mother in the outpatient clinic while waiting for their turn to meet with her treating physician. I noticed that Ferial is a lively little girl and was in a hurry to enter the play room, she did not want to miss on the story the supervisor was reading to the children!
I learned from Ferial’s mother that she is in her 35th week of treatment, that her health has significantly improved and that she is on the doorsteps of complete cure, God willing. As for the circumstances of Ferial’s illness, the mother stated that 9 months ago her daughter reported pain in her legs, and she noticed that her daughter complained of general fatigue as well. At the time she promptly took her daughter to a doctor who diagnosed leukemia following test results.
Upon receiving the news from the doctor, the mother, who is a school teacher, stated: ‘I rushed my daughter to Hospital 57357; in spite of my fear from the news, I felt hope for my daughter’s cure in that Hospital because I heard a lot of good things, about the capacities and the high level of health care and cure, God willing’.
Ferial’s treatment is over two years long (120 weeks) and she is presently into her 35th week of chemotherapy. Her treating physician, Dr. Sayed Abdel Hamid said that because of the intensive treatment that Ferial underwent so far, she is on her way to complete cure, God Bless. However, in order to avoid relapse she must complete the 120 weeks treatment.
During our conversation, Dr. Sayed mentioned that some environmental factors in our society significantly contribute to cancer incidence; these factors can be in the household or outside the home. Among the external factors, are cars CO2 emission and refuse and garbage left to rot in the streets. As for household pollution it is more damaging as children are directly exposed, in particular the use of pesticides in the rooms where the children constantly stay in. Fast food meals are also another source of pollution, because these meals are generally undercooked and as a result microbes and bacteria strive in them, thus exerting the child’s immune system and reducing resistance to infection. Canned juices and packed crisps (chypsy) are poisonous because of addition of preservatives which can cause cancer. Finally, healthy meals are based on adequate cooking procedures, and thorough washing of vegetables and fruits before eating is necessary as it ensures the protection of our children’s health during their growth, as well as strengthening their immune system.
At CCHE strict cooking procedures are followed when preparing meals for the young patients, moreover, the hospital’s nutritionists offer advice to patients families to further the proper care for their children’s health in their homes as well. It is obvious that prevention is better than treatment. Hence, I always provide such information to the children’s families and ensure that they apply them; not inly to improve the health of their sick loved one, but also to protect their siblings and any other family member. Therefore, if we want to implement change around us, better start with ourselves.
Ferial, and many children like her need help; together, let us join efforts to help our children with cancer continue their treatments and be healthy again… Each one of us must act responsibly to protect future generations so we can see Egypt free of cancer.