Each child deserves to be blessed with good health and a long life. Nonetheless, it is painful and heart-breaking when children have to deal with illnesses or disorders that they were not responsible for creating. One such ailment is Cancer.
Childhood Cancers are rare, but cannot be ignored, as they can even be fatal. The symptoms are different from those related to adult cancers, but it is important to identify them correctly.
Causes of Childhood Cancers:
Different cancers arise from different risk factors:
In children, an unchecked lifestyle could impact them after many years eg. being overweight, lack of proper exercise, careless eating habits and so on.
- ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS:
Exposure to radiation can trigger many types of childhood cancers. Sometimes being passive smokers (if parents are chain smokers), they become victims of disease.
- CHANGES IN GENES:
Unknowingly, certain changes in the DNA of cells can change them into becoming cancer cells. These DNA changes are inherited from either parent, which sometimes increase the risk of certain types of cancer.
- DEVELOPMENT IN THE WOMB:
In some rare cases, a child may develop cancerous tissues while in the womb. While in the womb, these cells remain dormant. They become active after a child might turn 3 or 4 years old, and develop into cancerous tumors.
- EXPOSURE TO INFECTIONS:
Infections, in unusual circumstances, can cause cancers.
- EXPOSURE TO RADIATION AND CHEMOTHERAPY:
Even after being completely cured of one type of cancer, children who have undergone chemotherapy and radiation, might sometimes be at a risk for developing another kind, in later years. This is only a likelihood, but precautions and regular checks can help monitor a child’s health diligently, and ensure timely intervention.
Symptoms of Childhood cancer:
Diagnosis is often delayed when people are not alert about noticing symptoms, and seeking help on time.
While children have normal ups and downs in their health while growing up, if you notice more than one of these, please meet your paediatrician immediately, and take necessary steps.
– Unusual lump in or swelling in the abdomen, neck, chest, pelvis or armpits
– Pain or discomfort in those areas.
– Easily fatigued or lacking energy.
– Gets bruised and bleeds quickly.
– Limping without reason.
– Behaving unusually – crying, screaming, sleeping for long hours or slow growth.
– Feverish for many days at a stretch, and unwell often.
– Vision is affected.
– Skin looks pale and dull.
– Infections of ear, nose, throat or chest.
Childhood cancers are for children younger than 15 years of age. After accidents, cancer is the second leading cause of death in children between the ages of 1 and 1
Common Cancers in Children:
- Leukemia—the deadliest pediatric cancer.
- Brain and spinal cord tumors
- Wilms tumor of the kidney
- Lymphoma ( Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin )
- Bone cancer
Test for Diagnosing Childhood Cancer:
- BLOOD TESTS:This helps identify the different kinds of cells in the child’s blood. If certain cells are high or low, it will help to detect the types of cancer.
- BIOPSY: In the case of brain cancer, a biopsy is the only option to diagnose it. For other cancers, there are different tests to help detect anything uncommon. The type of biopsy depends on the location of the tumour.
- BONE MARROW ASPIRATION AND BIOPSY: These tests are both done to scan and study the bone marrow—the fatty tissue found inside the larger bones. The marrow samples are examined and then analysed.
- There are various tests like, lumbar puncture, ultrasound, compound tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, position imaging tomography and scans or radioisotope, which help to accurately detect and diagnose the type of ailment.
Treatments of Childhood Cancers:
More than 70% of the types of this ailment are curable through advanced
HEMATOPOIETIC STEM CELL TRANSPLANTATION
Foods, Diet and Nutrition:
Food can be a major contributor to a child’s wellness before, during and after the treatment. With the help of a trusted nutritionist, you can put together a diet plan that helps strengthen a child’s immune system while steering clear of foods that are difficult to digest. It also acts as a mood booster, keeping a child cheerful and enthusiastic.