Tiwo, aged 6, Ghana

We first met Tiwo in 2018 on the day care unit at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Ghana, which is supported by World Child Cancer. He and his family have endured an enormously challenging past few years: although Tiwo first developed cancer when he was eight months old, he was not accurately diagnosed until he was almost four.

When Tiwo’s parents, first realised there was something wrong with him, they took him to their local hospital on the recommendation of their family friend – who was also a doctor. Tiwo went on to get a CT scan at two different hospitals, both of which showed there to be nothing wrong with him. His mum, Dofi recalled:

 “After receiving results of the scan, we were told there was nothing to worry about, but we knew there was something more to it as Tiwo did not get any better as the weeks passed. We had a second CT scan at another hospital which once again showed no issues, so we visited a private doctor for another opinion.”

It was only after visiting a third, private doctor, that a tumour was found. However, the turmoil did not end there. Despite two years having passed since Tiwo began showing signs of cancer, the private doctor did not treat Tiwo and simply told the family to wait:

“The doctor had told us that as the tumour was so small that we should take no action but return for regular check-ups instead. The hope was that the tumour would eventually shrink on its own.”

Despite this, the family continued travelling from hospital to hospital in search of answers. Eventually in 2017 the family were urgently referred to KBTH where staff had to act fast as the tumour had now doubled in size and was almost untreatable.

When we met Tiwo in 2018, he had been receiving treatment for some months and was responding well – his condition was drastically improving. Now in 2019, we are delighted to share that Tiwo has completed treatment. Five years after developing cancer and two years of treatment later, six-year-old Tiwo returns to the hospital just once a month for check-ups and has finally returned to his happy, cheeky self.

Tiwo was fortunate enough to be treated successfully despite years of misdiagnosis and an ‘untreatable’ tumour, but he didn’t need to go through this. By providing specialised training and through raising awareness of childhood cancer amongst communities and healthcare professionals alike, we can help children like Tiwo get diagnosed and treated early on, significantly increasing their chance of survival.

It is only thanks to your support that we are able to continue helping children just like Tiwo survive cancer and have a chance to fulfil their potential.

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