Cancer can be a scary word, especially when it comes to children. Childhood cancers are where abnormal cells grow uncontrollably and invade the body's healthy cells. These types of cancer often come with lifelong physical and emotional impacts, not just on the affected child but also on their family and support system. That's precisely why September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month; a dedicated time to raise awareness about the impact of childhood cancer and support children and their families who are facing this challenge. In this article, we will discuss some of the common childhood cancers, the signs, and symptoms to be aware of, and how you can show your support. If you are concerned about your child’s health the first step is to reach out to your child’s pediatrician.
Common Childhood Cancers
As a parent, nothing causes more fear and concern than when your child is faced with the possibility of a cancer diagnosis. Fortunately, many childhood cancers can be successfully treated if early detection is possible. Here we discuss common childhood cancers, their symptoms, and how you can keep an eye out for anything that may indicate something’s amiss. We hope that by sharing this information, you will be equipped with the necessary tools to aid in early detection.
Leukemias are types of cancers that affect the blood and bone marrow. According to Cancer.net, they account for around 28 percent of all childhood cancers. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of leukemia among children and can affect both boys and girls. Symptoms of ALL include fatigue, anemia, and easy bruising or bleeding. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is rare, and symptoms include fever, infections, fatigue, and easy bruising or bleeding.
Tumors are masses of abnormal cells that can grow and multiply, affecting surrounding areas. Central nervous system tumors, such as brain tumors, are the most common childhood brain cancers. Symptoms can vary depending on the location and size of the tumor, but common ones include headaches, nausea, and vomiting.
Child lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system that helps the body fight infections and diseases. Hodgkin lymphoma is rare in children, but it is more common in adolescents. It can cause swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, and groin, and sometimes fatigue and weight loss. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is also rare, and symptoms can include swollen lymph nodes, fever, and night sweats.
Neuroblastoma is a rare type of cancer that affects the sympathetic nerves that run along the spinal cord and neck. It is most common in infants and young children. Neuroblastoma accounts for around 6 percent of all childhood cancers. It usually starts in the nerve tissue around the adrenal glands. Neuroblastoma symptoms in children include bone pain, swelling, fever, lumps in the stomach, loss of appetite, and bruising around the eyes. It can also cause changes in heart rate and blood pressure.
In addition to these, other types of cancer that can occur in children include retinoblastoma, Wilms tumor, osteosarcoma, and rhabdomyosarcoma. Signs and symptoms of these cancers can vary, so it's essential to talk to your child's pediatrician if you're concerned about anything.
Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Facts
It's a heartbreaking reality that cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children in the United States according to the CDC. However, with more research, awareness, and support, we can help change those statistics. Here are some childhood cancer facts that will help you understand the seriousness of the disease and, more importantly, the importance of awareness and early detection.
Childhood Cancer Statistics
According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, approximately 15,780 children under the age of 19 are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States. In addition, approximately 1 in 285 children in the US will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday. The good news is that the overall survival rate for childhood cancer has risen over the past few decades, and the five-year relative survival rate is now around 80 percent.
The Importance of Awareness and Early Detection
Early detection of childhood cancer is crucial, as it can increase the chances of survival. However, symptoms of childhood cancer can be challenging to detect, and many of them can also be a sign of other less serious conditions. That's why it's vital to raise awareness and educate parents, caregivers, and healthcare professionals on the signs and symptoms of childhood cancer. Every child should undergo an annual checkup by a pediatrician specialized in early identification of these cancers, at the very least. Parents and guardians are encouraged to talk to their child's provider regarding any concerns that arise.
Get Help from BrightStar Care
The care of children with cancer is a delicate matter that requires special attention and expertise. At BrightStar Care, we understand the complexity of caring for a child experiencing cancer. Our team of highly skilled and trained caregivers is specifically trained to care for children with cancer. We provide personalized care, ensure their safety, and follow specific routines or protocols to prevent discomfort and complications.
We understand the importance of continuity of care. Our professional caregivers work proactively alongside medical professionals to ensure that the child has the best care available. We provide in-hospital companionship and in-home care services to meet the child's needs at every stage of their treatment. Additionally, we provide pediatric care services designed specifically for children with complex medical conditions.
Not all children with cancer have the same needs, and that is why we offer customized care plans based on each child's unique needs. Our team takes time to understand your child, your family, and your situation to create an individualized plan for your child's treatment. We strive to provide a one-stop-shop for all your child's physical and emotional support.
At BrightStar Care, we take pride in our commitment to providing the best care possible to children with cancer. We understand that cancer changes the lives of children and their entire family. Contact BrightStar Care today to learn more about how we can help! Remember, no child needs to fight alone.