Honouring Young Cancer Warriors

Honouring Young Cancer Warriors
Dr Johann Riedemann, oncologist at Crayon

This Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Crayon, a specialist Paediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology unit based in the northern suburbs of the Cape Metropole, is commemorating the strength, bravery, and hope of countless children who battle cancer daily while shedding light on the importance of childhood cancer diagnosis, detection, and treatment.


Entries for the art competition opened on Monday, 11 September and high schools in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town have been invited to take part. The theme of the competition is ‘Dreams and Wishes’ and learners are invited to illustrate the dreams, hopes, and wishes of children affected by cancer, showcasing their aspirations and desires for a brighter future.


“We are very excited to launch this wonderful initiative to help bring awareness to childhood cancer.

This competition allows us to pay tribute to the incredible strength and resilience of our young heroes,” says Dr Johann Riedemann, oncologist at Crayon.


Specialist team unites to fight cancer in young people


An average of 800 to 1 000 children are newly diagnosed with cancer annually in South Africa and it’s estimated that at least half of all children with cancer in the country are never diagnosed.


Icon Oncology and Cancercare earlier this year collaborated to establish Crayon with a ‘dream team’ to help address the rising incidence of cancer in younger people. As the brainchild of Dr Riedemann, the Crayon unit is based at Cape Gate Oncology Centre and focuses on solid tumor pathology which includes nervous system cancers, head and neck cancers, nasopharynx, lung cancers, abdominal cancers, soft tissue cancer and urogenital cancers.


Crayon stands for Childhood, Radiation, Adolescent, Young Adult, Oncology Network and offers an integrated service with a dedicated multidisciplinary team devoted to delivering the best possible care and outcomes for its young patients.


Childhood cancer is a formidable adversary that affects countless young lives


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is a leading cause of death in children and adolescents worldwide. The need for early detection and precise diagnosis has never been more pressing. Fortunately, remarkable strides have been made in recent years, bringing hope to countless families. Cutting-edge technologies, like genomics and precision medicine, are revolutionising the way we approach paediatric cancer.


While progress is undeniable, challenges persist. Many children in underserved regions still lack access to proper healthcare, leaving them without the necessary resources for early diagnosis and treatment. “Childhood cancer knows no boundaries, affecting kids from all walks of life. The battle against this disease is relentless, and it requires our unwavering commitment to making a difference in the lives of children and their families,” adds Dr Riedemann.


Empowerment through awareness – spotting childhood cancer early


Research efforts in South Africa are contributing to a deeper understanding of the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to childhood cancer. This knowledge is paving the way for more personalised and effective treatment strategies, bringing renewed hope to families facing this daunting journey.


However early detection can make a world of difference. Research shows that the sooner a child is diagnosed, the better the outcome for the patient. Prompt treatment is essential for improving the chances of successful outcomes in children with cancer, regardless of the type.


The closing date for the Crayon High School Art Competition is 31 October 2023 and winners will be announced in November. For more information visit: www.cancercrayon.co.za.