When diagnosis is delayed, splinting may need to be prolonged and eventually an operation may be required.
Doctors who deliver babies are well aware of this condition and check the child at birth, when a few days old and again before discharge from hospital. Nurses in the hospital are also aware of the problem.
As a follow-up and to detect any babies who slip through this net, the Infant Welfare Sister will also check the baby for congenital dislocation of the hip, or CDH.
The very few, if any, who do miss out on diagnosis may not be detected until the child starts walking. Unfortunately, when this happens, treatment may be prolonged and more complicated.
extensive cancer causes some general effects throughout the body, in addition to the symptoms due to involvement of particular organs. Weight loss is due to a combination of loss of appetite, and the fact that the cancer cells use up a lot of the available nutrients. However, many people die of cancer without ever losing much weight at all. Like pain, weight loss is by no means something that occurs in every case.
Cancer tends to also weaken and suppress the body’s immune system. This means that infections are easily caught and tend to be more serious than they are in a person without cancer. Because of this, infection, which often takes the form of pneumonia, is a frequent cause of death in cancer patients.
There are also ways in which cancer can cause sudden death. One is through bleeding, which is often internal. Another is through blood clots on the lung. Blood clots form more easily in people with cancer than in people without cancer. Blood clots can travel to the lungs and lodge there. This can completely block the blood flow through the lungs, in which case death occurs within minutes. If the clots are not big enough to block the blood flow completely, the symptoms consist of shortness of breath, chest pain and coughing of blood.
With cancer we have seen that death is often due to failure of the liver, brain or lungs to do their normal job. In the case of the lungs this may be due to cancer itself, pneumonia or blood clots. In all these instances, it is unusual for the patient to remain fully alert and conscious up until the time of death. In fact, it is most unusual for patients with cancer to suddenly drop dead, whatever i he actual cause of death. A gradual drifting into sleep and unconsciousness, usually comes first. In most cases, especially if everyone is prepared for it, this is best for both patients and their loved ones.
If you’ve read right through this chapter to here, you’re a very brave person. Stick with it! Now that we know something about what cancer is and how it behaves, let’s find out what to do about it.