Most paediatric cancers are considered to be potentially curable.
Although childhood cancer has high cure rates in developed countries, it is estimated that in India, 70% children diagnosed with cancer die due, largely, to lack of awareness, late detection and diagnosis, inadequate facilities, the high cost of treatment and the absence of supportive care. It is estimated that nearly 40-50,000 new childhood cancer cases occur each year and not more than 20000 cases are being diagnosed out of them. The difference between cancer in adults and children is that for the latter it is usually considered to be either controllable or palliable.
The most common cancers of children are:
Brain and spinal cord tumors
Lymphoma (including both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin)
Bone cancer (including osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma)
If the below mentioned symptoms are noticed, immediate intervention is required:
An unusual lump or swelling
Unexplained paleness and loss of energy
Easy bruising or bleeding
An ongoing pain in one area of the body including bones, joints, back
Unexplained fever or illness that doesn’t go away
Frequent headaches, often with vomiting
Change or deterioration in walk, balance or speech
Sudden eye or vision changes including white spot in the eye, new squint, new blindness, bulging eyeball
Sudden unexplained weight loss
Familial and genetic factors are identified in 5-15% of childhood cancer cases. In <5-10% of cases, there are known environmental exposures and exogenous factors, such as prenatal exposure to tobacco, X-rays, or certain medications. For the remaining 75-90% of cases, however, the individual causes remain unknown. In most cases, as in carcinogenesis in general, the cancers are assumed to involve multiple risk factors and variables.