Childhood Cancer Awareness
Cancer is one of the ailments which are quite rare in adolescents and children. However, since 1975 cancer in small children has been gradually increasing. Also, cancer can be a bit harder to diagnose in children as compared to adults.
According to statistics, childhood cancer rates are less than 1% of all cases diagnosed in a year. It’s predicted that about 10,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer in 2017. Thanks to the major medical advances, children who have cancer today have higher chances of survival as compared to the past when the rate of survival was just 58%.
Major symptoms of childhood cancer
Symptoms can differ depending on the type of cancer affecting a child. However, there are some general signs that are present in most cases regardless of the type. These include:
- Persistent fevers.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Headaches and early morning vomiting.
- Excessive bleeding bruising or rash.
- Constant tiredness.
- Persistent pain.
Childhood cancer risk factors
Some environmental changes have been linked to childhood cancers. These include radiation exposure and air pollution. Studies have also suggested that exposure to secondhand smoke might considerably increase the risks. During last decade, scientists have begun studies on how certain changes in DNA can lead to cancer in children. Apart from determining our appearance, most scientists so far agree that DNA also has a major influence on our health in general and the risk of developing some kinds of cancer in particular, both in children and adults.
Tests that can be used to detect childhood cancer
Apart from the physical examination, childhood cancers can be diagnosed through blood chemistry tests, x-ray, CT Scan, endoscopy, ultrasound example, biopsy, bone scan, lumbar puncture, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging among others.
Childhood cancer treatment
While some types of cancer may be successfully treated with chemotherapy, treatment options such as immunotherapy and targeted therapy drugs have proven to be very effective as well. With just a few exceptions, most childhood cancers respond well to chemotherapy. Also, children bodies are able to recover rather quickly from chemotherapy. Radiation, on the other hand, is a treatment that is really used in children as it might come with a lot of side effects affecting the proper development and growth of a child.
What happens after treatment?
For parents of children fighting cancer, it’s often very hard to stop worrying even after successful treatment. In fact, for a few years after recovering, it's still very important to continue visiting the doctor for regular check-ups until he is sure that the child is out of the danger of recurrence.