Are Childhood cancers different from Adult Cancers?

Childhood Cancer

Childhood cancers or Paediatric cancers are biologically different from adult cancers.
They grow faster than most adult cancers.

Factors which trigger cancer or cause childhood cancers are different from those causing adult cancers for example smoking a leading cause of adult lung cancer is not a cause for childhood lung cancer.

Most Paediatric cancers are non hereditary and happen due genetic mutations of growing up cells, though pollution, exposure to radiation, chemicals are also contributory factors in a few cases.

Common cancers in children:

The most common childhood cancer is Leukemia or Blood Cancer. Of all types of blood cancers, ALL is the most common one. It affects children in the age group of 2-6 years.
Other common paediatric cancers are tumours of the brain, retinoblastoma, neuroblastoma, lymphoma, tumours of the kidney, tumours of the adrenal gland, sarcomas , bone tumours etc.

Symptoms of Childhood Cancers:

  • Unusually High Fever
  • Bruise marks or blue marks on the body
  • Prolonged fever with no established cause
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Nose bleed, gum bleed
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Joint pains
  • Pale palor, accompanied with fever, body ache
  • Swelling in the neck or axilla.
  • Increase in size of lymph nodes, along with cough, fever, weight loss
  • Persistent headache
  • Unusual Redness in the eye
  • Early morning vomiting, loss of appetite
    If you notice any of these, it may be a good idea to plan a visit to the doctor.

Are Childhood cancers curable ?

As childhood cancers grow faster than adult cancers, they are also more responsive to chemotherapy and other forms of treatment.

Depending on the stage of cancer and the spread of cancer, a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation may be advised.

With advances in medical treatment, it is now possible to save limbs in bone cancers, eyes in retinoblastoma depending upon stage of cancer and response to treatment options.

Most blood cancers in children respond extremely well to chemotherapy and get cured.

Over 70% of childhood cancers get cured. 5 year survival rates for brain tumour are more than 90%, for Hodgkins lymphoma are over 90% and for ALL or acute lymphoblastic leukaemia survival rates are over 80%.

Even after complete cure, regular followups with paediatric oncologists are required for the next couple of years.

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Neuroblastoma Treatment, Symptoms of Neuroblastoma

Neuroblastoma Treatment and symptoms of neuroblastomaSecond most common solid tumor is Neuroblastoma in childhood, which affecting about 7% of all children with cancer. It is also very common solid cancer in infants as well.

There are over 700 cases each year in the U.S. Neuroblastoma generally originates in the adrenal glands (which are located on top of each kidney). However, tumors can begin anywhere in the body including chest, neck and pelvis. The cells that make up neuroblastoma tumors are called neuroblasts.

In this type of cancer, the neuroblasts grow and divide without the usual growth checkpoints and controls, leading to the growth of a cancerous mass of cells known as tumor.

Neuroblastoma Symptoms:
Signs and Symptoms consist of Abdominal swelling, pain, Constipation, Difficulty in urination if a tumor is present in the abdomen.

A lump or bump in the neck that can sometimes be accompanied by drooping of the eyelid, a small pupil, and lack of sweating on the same side of the face, Bone pain, Fatigue, Bleeding and bruising, Fever, Difficulty breathing if the tumor is present in the chest, Weakness or paralysis, High blood pressure, Rapid heartbeat and Persistent diarrhea

Treatment of Neuroblastoma:

Treatment options for Neuroblastoma are surgery, chemotherapy, Radiation therapy, Stem cell transplantation/bone marrow transplantation, Retinoid therapy and Immunotherapy.