The facts that we should know about childhood cancer

The facts that we should know about childhood cancer
Photo: By امید رستمی نیا - Own work, GFDL via Wikimedia Commons

The diagnosis of cancer at any age is upsetting. It is further devastating if this dreaded disease is diagnosed at an early stage of life that is during childhood. Childhood cancer is a terrible suffering and the potential to pass away as a result is devastating.

According to medical studies, it is seen that during the year 2016, there are 10,380 new cases of childhood cancer reported and that may lead to the death of 1,250 children.

The age of these children can be anywhere from 0 to 4 years of age. It can be said that the reports or occurrence of childhood cancer has reduced in the past few decades but it is still the cause of many deaths amongst children. There are various types of cancer which affect children; they are acute lymphatic leukemia, CNS tumor and neuroblastoma.

What are the signs that will make us aware that children are affected by cancer?

You must know that though cancer is a dreaded disease, if it can be detected at an early stage effective treatment can be performed and the patient can recover from this disease.

For this early detection, it is good to know the signs which will lead us to be in front of the doctor so that proper diagnosis can be made. The probable signs are:

• A nature of swelling or lump which is unusual in nature
• Paleness and fatigue
• Easy staining
• Lingering pain in certain body parts
• Recurrent headache

If we find such symptoms then we must rush to the doctor with the child to diagnose if it is the sign of cancer.

What are the probable causes of childhood cancer?
The causes of childhood cancer are also not clear as with other nature of cancer in adults. It is seen that 5 % of that nature of cancer that happens in children occurs due to inherited mutation.
It is believed that the probable cause of cancer in children is the same as that with the adults, which is mutation in genes leading to unnatural cell growth leading to cancer.
What are the types of childhood cancers?
There are various types of cancer from which children’s suffer. The common types that affect the kid’s are:
• Leukemia
This nature of cancer is those associated with the bone marrow and the blood. This is the cause of 305 of cancers that occurs in children.
Those having this nature of cancer may suffer from pains in the bone and joints, tiredness, skin which is pale, bleeding, fever and loss of weight. This needs to be treated quickly with chemotherapy as acute leukemia can spread fast.

• Tumors of brain or spinal cord

26% of childhood cancer is caused by this nature of cancer. It is seen that brain tumors in children start at the lower part of the brain called the cerebellum and it may be associated with pain in head, vomiting, problems with vision, seizures and trouble with walking or handling an object. The occurrence of tumors in the spinal cord is rarer than brain tumors.

• Neuroblastoma

This is a nature of cancer that starts its growth when the child is in the stage of embryo or fetus. 6% of children between the age group of 0 to 10 years can be affected by this type of cancer. It starts with a tumor at any part of the body, especially in the stomach and is associated with pain and fever.

• Lymphomas

The nature of this cancer is associated with the immune system cells called lymphocytes. The first occurrences occur in the lymph nodes such as tonsils or thymus.

There are other types of cancer that also effects children. They are Rhabdomyosarcoma, Retinoblastoma and Bone cancer.

What is the nature of treatment of childhood cancer?

The nature of treatment mainly depends on the nature of cancer and the stage when it is first detected. Depending upon this the treatment can be provided by means of:

• Surgery
• Treatment by radiation
• Chemotherapy

There are certain types of childhood cancers which may require treatment by through a stem cell transplant after having chemotherapy. It is seen that chemotherapy is the most favored means of providing treatment for childhood cancer. Though chemotherapy is the one that is favored it does come with various side effects.

Where to go for having the best treatment for childhood cancer?

Parents who have a child with cancer need to go to the Children’s Cancer Centers for the effective treatments. The reason for this is that the specialists there know the difference between adult and child cancer and the different methods of providing effective treatments.

What should be the role of parents whose child is detected with cancer?

It is really painful as a parent to learn that your child is suffering from cancer. But your role is the one which will make the life of your child more comfortable along with the treatment.

The parents role is purely of support and continued affection towards your child. You must not allow your own emotions in the moment to be reflected in any of your behavior. You must know the entire medical plan from the doctors and help your child to cope up with the treatment.

It is also important to inform their school regarding the sickness and take permission, in some instances, for special types of classes so that your child can continue with their studies.

It is definitely an unfortunate event if anyone’s child is detected with cancer but you need to be strong so that your child can have the best nature of treatment and recover fast.

Your role as a parent is vital in providing the support and strength to quicken the recovery process.