Childhood Cancer is a term used to describe a rare cancer in children that occur between birth and 15 years of age. Childhood cancers are different from adult cancers in the way as to how they grow, spread and the treatment they require. This Cancer can grow in any part of the body.
In case of childhood cancer of the blood which initiates in the bone marrow, the abnormal cells in very rare case form a solid tumour. Instead they grow cell crowds in the bone marrow which prevents the production of red blood cells (cells that carry oxygen to tissues), white blood cells (cells that fight infection) and platelets ( the part of the blood required for clothing).
Most of the time, there is no known cause for childhood cancers. Childhood cancers might behave differently from adult cancers, even though they start in the same part of the body.
Different types of childhood cancers are:
- Leukemias - cancer of tissues of the body that make the blood cells and the bone marrow which lowers the body's ability to fight infection
- Lymphomas - cancer which initiates in the lymph system, the body’s circulatory network for filtering out impurities.
- Brain Tumours - Tumours of the brain and spinal cord are the most common types of solid tumours in children.
- Bone Cancers - The most common bone cancer is osteogenic sarcoma.
- Neuroblastoma - Found only in children, arises in the adrenal glands which are located in the abdominal area.
- Wilms’ Tumour - cancer that develops in the kidney
- Retinoblastoma - a cancerous eye tumour. This shows signs of hereditary pattern
- Rhabdomyosarcoma - occurs in the soft tissues of children. The most common soft tissue tumour is sarcoma, which is extremely cancerous. It originates in the skeletal muscle and spreads to other parts of the body to form other types of childhood cancer. Treatment for childhood cancer is done
There is an increase seen in childhood cancer occurring in teenagers and young adults who are treated at pediatric oncology centre where medical oncologists, who are cancer specialist doctors and pediatric oncologists, who are doctors for treating children with cancer, work together to plan treatment. This ensures they get the best treatment with the newest treatments.
Treatment for childhood cancer is done by doctors in coordination with family support, this is called a multidisciplinary team. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, Immunotherapy, stem cell transplantation and bone marrow transplantation are the different treatments carried out to treat this cancer.
After treatment is over comes the remission period, when the patient is cured and has no symptoms but the fear remains of childhood cancer recurrence.
If in case it becomes impossible to treat a child suffering from childhood cancer it is termed as terminal or advanced stage of cancer.