Cancers of childhood are both devastating and rare, randomly occurring in about .00014% of U.S. children. The most common types of children cancers are:
Spotting cancer in children early is crucial, yet problematic because some of childhood cancers’ symptoms can be correlated to noncancerous infections or conditions. For example symptoms like:
Therefore, it is not unusual to suspect other causes for your child’s complaints when initial cancer symptoms emerge.
Leukemia is the most common type of childhood cancer, accounting for about a third of all cancers in children. Symptoms of leukemia may cause your child to experience:
Brain cancer, along with spinal cancer, are the second highest types of cancer in children, generating a fifth of all childhood cancer cases. Early stage warnings for this type of cancer consist of:
Spinal cord tumors are less prevalent than brain tumors.
These lymphomas account for less than 5% of childhood cancers, and the Hodgkin lymphoma type rarely develops in children under 5 years old.
Two types of primary bone cancers that most often manifest in children are:
- Osteosarcoma ~ often causes no pain, but sometimes worsening bone pain
- Ewing sarcoma ~ a less common primary bone cancer which may cause bone pain
Neuroblastoma is a type cancerous tumor that usually occurs in the abdomen within the first year of a child’s life. It gives notice via abdominal swelling, sometimes accompanied by:
- bone pain
This version of cancer depicts less than ten percent of all childhood cancers.
Wilms tumor represents about five percent of the cancers of childhood.
Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common childhood soft tissue sarcoma, starting in striated muscles. It can materialize in various voluntary muscle locations:
It may cause pain and/or a swollen lump.
A few of the key research findings in reference to possible causes and level of risk are as follows:
- ultrasound during pregnancy ~ not linked with childhood cancer
- power lines ~ not been significantly associated with childhood leukemia
- children with AIDS ~ increased risk of developing certain types of cancers
- high levels of ionizing radiation ~ increased risk of some childhood cancers
- Down syndrome children ~ increased risk of developing childhood leukemia
- certain genetic syndromes ~ linked to increase risk of specific childhood cancers
- indoor radon exposure ~ not been significantly associated with childhood leukemia
- pesticides ~ suspected, not validated, to be involved in the development of certain forms of childhood cancer
- no link between maternal cigarette smoking before pregnancy and childhood cancers, but increased risk related to the father’s smoking habits
- children with cancer treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy ~ may be at increased risk for developing a second primary children cancer
Little evidence has been found to link specific viruses or other infectious agents to the development of most types of childhood cancers, research is ongoing.
Childhood cancer survivors may experience later in life side effects. Some of these effects include:
- vision, hearing loss
- liver, kidney problems
- lung ~ difficulty breathing
- slow, abnormal bone growth
- memory, learning disabilities
- bone ~ osteoporosis, scoliosis
- increased risk of future cancers
- blood vessel ~ higher stroke risk
- heart ~ greater risk of heart attacks
At this juncture, little is known about late effects of cancer treatment. Consume a healthy diet and exercise regularly to maintain an optimal health condition to conquer round 2, if that ends up being your case.