Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases affecting a large number of people around the world. People can get affected by this life-threatening condition in any stage of life. The types of cancer vary according to different ages. Some types of cancers are common in males, some of them commonly affects females, and a few types of cancers are usually seen in older people.
Similarly, the types of cancer observed in children are different. Some cancers are more commonly seen in children than in adults. Moreover, childhood cancer is very rare. However, cancer remains the second major cause of death in children below 15 years, after the unintentional injuries.
Types of Cancer that happen to Children are:
Leukemia leads to cancer of the blood and bone marrow. It is one of the most common cancers that happen to children. Hence, 30% of all the cases of childhood cancer are of leukemia alone. The most common types of leukemia affecting children are acute lymphatic leukemia and acute myelogenous leukemia.
Both types of leukemia cause: weakness, joint pain, fatigue, pale skin, bleeding or bruising, weight loss, fever, and other symptoms.
Brain and Spinal Cord Tumours:
Brain and Central Nervous System tumors are the second most common childhood cancers after leukemia. These types of cancer account for about 26% of all childhood cancers. However, there are many different types of brain tumors. Most of the brain tumors affecting children start from the lower portion of the brain, such as brain stem or cerebellum. The cancer of brain stem or cerebellum can cause severe symptoms like dizziness, seizures trouble handling objects or walking, vomiting, blurred vision, and constant headaches, etc.
Neuroblastoma usually develops in the developing embryo or fetus. Hence, it is more commonly observed in infants and young children. It rarely affects the children above 10. Around 6% of all types of childhood cancers are affected by neuroblastomas. The development of neuroblastoma can start anywhere, but it more commonly begins in the abdomen. It can cause severe abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, severe bone pain, and fever, etc.
Also called as Wilms Tumour, nephroblastoma starts from one or very rarely both kidneys. It is more commonly seen in children of 3 to 4 years and is very seldom seen in children older than 6. The primary symptom of Wilms Tumour is lump or swelling in the abdomen. The lump may be accompanied by other symptoms like fever, nausea, severe body ache, poor appetite, etc. Wilms tumor accounts for around 5% of all types of childhood cancers.
Lymphomas take place in the immune system cells called lymphocytes. These cancers usually start from lymph nodes and other lymph tissues like thymus and tonsils. It sometimes also affect the bone marrow and some other organs. Lymphomas are of two main types: Hodgkin Lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Hodgkin Lymphoma: It is more common in early adulthood than in childhood. It affects about 3% of children and is rare in children of more than five years of age.
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: It affects about 5% of children worldwide. This cancer affects younger children more than Hodgkin lymphoma. But it is very rarely seen in children below three years. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma proliferates and needs immediate medical attention once detected. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma responds better to the treatment than the Hodgkin lymphoma.
Symptoms of both types of lymphoma may include fever, weight loss, prolonged fatigue, sweating, lumps or swellings under the neck, armpit, skin or groin, etc.
The cancers starting from the cells of skeletal muscles are called Rhabdomyosarcoma. The skeletal muscles are responsible for the movement of all the body parts. Hence, this type of cancer can start from anywhere in the body, including head, neck, abdomen, groin, pelvis, arm or leg.
It is one of the most common soft tissue sarcomas of children making up about 3% of cancers in children. The significant Rhabdomyosarcoma symptoms are pain and lump around the affected parts.
Cancer of the eye is called retinoblastoma. It accounts for around 2% of childhood cancers. It is more common in children under two years and is very rarely seen in children above six years. Children suffering from retinoblastoma may have abnormally red or swelled eye(s). Even the pupil of the suffering child may look bright red. It is because of the excess blood in the blood vessels posterior to the pupil. If not noticed on time, the pupil may even become pink or white.
Cancers starting from the bones usually seen in teenagers but may affect children of any age. Bone cancers account for almost 3% of cancers of the children. There are two major types of bone cancers, i.e. Osteosarcoma and Ewing Sarcoma.
Osteosarcoma more commonly affects teenagers. It usually develops from the ends of the long bones in arms or legs. It can cause severe pain in the bone. Thus, it gets worse with physical activities. In later stages, it can even cause abnormal swelling around the joints.
Ewing Sarcoma is less common than the osteosarcoma. It also causes swelling or pain around the joints. It commonly starts from the hip bones, the chest wall, and the middle part of long bones.
These are some common types of cancers affecting children. The main reason for the discussion about these cancers is to make the diagnosis a little easy. If you notice any of these signs in your child, you should not take it lightly. Thus, consult your doctor immediately to ensure early diagnosis. Sometimes an early diagnosis can be very helpful to fight against any type of cancer.