What are Children Cancers and Children Cancer Treatment?

October 19, 2021 Cancer Hub 30 Views

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What is the meaning of Children’s Cancer and Treatments?

The genetic changes in a cell that result in uncontrolled growth of the cell may result in cancer in children. Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy are some of the different treatment modalities for cancer in children.

Cancer is not common in children. Cancer seen in children is different from that seen in adults. The symptoms of cancer vary depending on the type of cancer.

In this article, we will be discussing in detail about children’s cancers and their treatment.

  • What are the different types of Children Cancers?
  • What are the causes of Children Cancers?
  • What are the risk factors of Children Cancers?
  • What are the symptoms of Children Cancers?
  • How to diagnose Children’s Cancers?
  • What are the various Children’s Cancer Treatments?
  • What are the complications of Children Cancers Treatments?
  • How to prevent Children Cancers?
  • What is the cost of Children’s  Cancer Treatments in India?

What are the different types of Children Cancers?

The most common type of cancers in children include:

  • Leukemia: This is a type of cancer that begins in the bone marrow and spreads through the bloodstream. It is further divided into two types:
  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia: A type of cancer affecting the white blood cells. It occurs when the bone marrow cell has errors in its DNA.
  • Acute myeloid leukemia: A type of cancer that spreads extremely fast, and the myeloid cells interfere with the production of white blood cells, platelets, and red blood cells.

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  • Brain and central nervous system tumors: These tumors begin in the brain and spinal cord (backbone region) of the body and may include:
  • Gliomas: A type of cancer beginning in the glial cells (gluey supportive cells surrounding the nerve cells and helping them to function.
  • Medulloblastoma:  It is the most common type of brain cancer seen in children. It is a tumor beginning at the lower back part of the brain, known as the cerebellum.
  • Neuroblastoma: This is a cancer of the nerve tissue that is found around the kidneys.
  • Lymphoma: This type of cancer begins in the lymphocytes (a type of white blood cells), lymph nodes, and other lymph tissues. Lymphomas may be of the following two types:
  • Hodgkin lymphoma: A specific type of abnormal cell known as a Reed-Sternberg cell is present in this type of lymphoma.
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma: The Reed-Sternberg cell is not detected in this type of lymphoma.

( Know more about- What is Lymphoma? Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, Cost )

  • Wilms’ tumor: It is a type of kidney cancer.
  • Bone cancer: The most common type of bone cancers are:
  • Osteosarcoma: It is a type of bone cancer normally seen in the long bones that make up the legs and the arms.
  • Ewing sarcoma: This type of bone cancer usually begins in the arms, legs, and bones of the pelvis (area below the stomach or abdomen).
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma: It is the cancer of the connective tissue and muscle such as the ligaments and the tendons.
  • Retinoblastoma: It is a cancer of the retina, which is the light-sensing tissue present at the back of the eye.

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What are the causes of Children Cancers?

  • The exact cause of children’s cancers is unknown.
  • Cancer in children is thought to occur due to certain genetic changes (mutations) in the growing cells.

What are the risk factors of Children Cancers?

Some of the following factors increase the risk of developing children cancers:

  • Down syndrome (a genetic disorder that causes intellectual and developmental delays)
  • Inherited genetic abnormalities
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Exposure to certain environmental chemicals or toxins

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What are the symptoms of Children Cancers?

The symptoms depend on the type of cancer present. The symptoms for different types of childhood cancers are:

  • Leukemia:
    • Fatigue
    • Bone pain
    • Joint pain
    • Bleeding
    • Pale skin
    • Fever
    • Weight loss
    • Bleeding
    • Bruising

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  • Brain and central nervous system tumors:
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Headaches
    • Dizziness
    • Difficulty in walking
    • Double vision
    • Blurred vision

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  • Neuroblastoma:
    • Bone pain
    • Swelling in the abdomen (stomach)
    • Fever

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  • Lymphoma:
    • Fever
    • Weight loss
    • Tiredness
    • Sweats
    • Lumps or swollen lymph nodes in the groin, armpit, or neck
  • Wilms’ tumor:
    • Nausea
    • Pain
    • Fever
    • Loss of appetite
  • Bone cancer:
    • Bone pain
    • Bone swelling
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma:
    • Pain and swelling anywhere in the body
  • Retinoblastoma:
    • Unusual appearance of the eye
    • The eye appears pink or white, instead of red, during flash photography

How to diagnose Children’s Cancers?

  • Physical examination: The doctor will first physically examine the patient and check for the symptoms present. The medical history and family history of the patient is also noted.
  • Blood tests: These tests check for the vital parameters in the blood. An abnormal level of these parameters could indicate an infection or a disease.
  • Biopsy: A small part of the suspected tissue growth is removed by the doctor and sent to the laboratory to check if cancer cells are present, and the type of cancer cells present.
  • Bone marrow aspirate: It is a procedure of taking a small amount of bone marrow by a needle for investigation.
  • Lumbar puncture: A small amount of spinal fluid (a clear fluid surrounding the spinal cord and the brain) is removed by a needle and investigated in this procedure.
  • Imaging tests: Tests like x-rays, ultrasound, CT scan, MRI scan, PET scan are different types of imaging tests done to create images of the different internal organs of the body.

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What are the various Children’s Cancer Treatments?

The type of treatment done for cancers in children depends on the type of cancer, the severity of cancer, and the overall health of the patient. The different types of treatment modalities are:

  • Surgery:
    • Surgery is done to remove the tumor and some surrounding tissue.
    • The goal of the surgery is the removal of the entire tumor and the tissue around the tumor, leaving behind no tumor in the healthy tissue.
    • It is a common form of treatment for solid tumors.
  • Radiation therapy:
    • This procedure uses high-energy x-rays or protons to damage or kill the cancer cells.
    • This can lead to damage to the other healthy cells that are in close proximity to the area being treated.
    • Sometimes, radiation therapy may be performed after surgery to remove any cancer cells that may have been left behind.
    • Radiation therapy can also be used in combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer.
  • Chemotherapy:
    • This method involves the use of medications to kill the cancer cells.
    • Chemotherapy may sometimes be done before surgery to shrink the tumor cells, allowing them to be removed easily.
    • Chemotherapy may also be done post-surgery to remove any cancer cells that may have been left behind after surgery.
    • Chemotherapy can also be used in combination with radiation therapy.

( Know more about- What is Chemotherapy? Types, Procedure, Side effects, Cost

  • Immunotherapy:
    • This method is done to boost the immune system (disease-fighting) of the body to kill the cancer cells.
  • Bone marrow transplantation / Stem cell transplantation:
    • It is a procedure of replacing cancer-affected bone marrow with specialized cells, called hematopoietic stem cells, which develop into healthy bone marrow.

What are the complications of Children Cancer Treatments?

The various complications of children cancers treatments may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Risk of infection
  • Bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hair loss
  • Skin reactions
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Upset stomach
  • Loose bowel movements

If you notice any of the above complications after cancer treatment in children, contact your doctor.

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How to prevent Children Cancers?

Since most cancers in children occur due to genetic conditions, it is not possible to prevent cancer in children.

However, a few steps can be taken to reduce the risk of children developing cancer. These steps include:

  • Breastfeeding the child
  • Getting a sufficient amount of folic acid (vitamin B) during pregnancy
  • Getting sufficient physical activities during childhood
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol during pregnancy
  • Children should be kept away from secondhand smoke
  • Reduce exposure to air pollution
  • Avoid exposure to harmful chemicals and irritants
  • Avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation (like in cases of x-rays and scans)

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What is the cost of Children’s Cancer Treatments in India?

The total cost of children’s cancer treatment in India can range from around INR 2,50,000 to INR 10,00,000. However, the cost of the procedure may vary across different hospitals. There are many big hospitals and specialized doctors in India for children’s cancer treatment. The cost varies across different hospitals.

If you are coming from abroad, in addition to the expenses of children’s cancer treatment, there will be a cost of staying in a hotel, cost of living, and cost of local travel. Apart from this, after the procedure, the patient is kept in hospital for 5 days and in the hotel for 15 days for recovery. So, the total cost of children’s cancer treatment in India comes to be around INR 3,00,000 to INR 12,00,000.

We hope that we were able to answer all your questions regarding children’s cancers and children’s cancer treatments through this article.

If you want more information and treatment for childhood cancers, you can contact the Pediatric Oncologist.

We only aim to give you information through the article and do not recommend medication or treatment in any way. Only a doctor can give you the best advice and correct treatment plan. 

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