Cancer in Children

Cancer in Children

cancers in children

Children do Get Cancer

Cancer in children is not uncommon. 1 to 2 out of every 10,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with some form of cancer. Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among U.S. children 1 to 14 years of age. Over the past 20 years, there has been an increase in the incidence of children diagnosed with all forms of invasive cancer.

Leukemia, Lymphoma and Brain Tumors are the most common cancers in children.

Leukemia and Lymphoma

Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (also called acute lymphocytic leukemia or ALL) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. This type of cancer usually progresses quickly if it is not found early and treated. Symptoms of leukemia include unexplained fever or bruising.

Lymphoma is a cancer in children that begins in cells of the immune system. There are two basic categories of lymphomas. One kind is Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is marked by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. The other category is non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, which includes a large, diverse group of cancers of immune system cells. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas can be further divided into cancers that have an indolent (slow-growing) course and those that have an aggressive (fast-growing) course. These sub-types behave and respond to treatment differently. Prognosis and treatment for both Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas depend on the stage and the type of cancer.

Brain Tumors

There are many types of childhood brain and spinal cord tumors. The tumors are formed by the abnormal growth of cells and may begin in different areas of the brain or spinal cord. The tumors may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign brain tumors grow and press on nearby areas of the brain. They rarely spread into other tissue. Malignant brain tumors are likely to grow quickly and spread into other brain tissue. When a tumor grows into or presses on an area of the brain, it may stop that part of the brain from working the way it should. Both benign and malignant brain tumors can cause symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and balance problems. Early diagnosis and treatment leads to the most favorable outcomes.

Despite advances in detection, the causes of cancer in children remain largely unknown

While genetics plays a role, a number of studies are examining suspected or possible risk factors for cancers in children, including early-life exposures to infectious agents; parental, fetal, or childhood exposures to environmental toxins such as pesticides, solvents, or other household chemicals; parental occupational exposures to radiation or chemicals; parental medical conditions during pregnancy; and, maternal diet during pregnancy. Researchers are also studying the risks associated with maternal exposures to oral contraceptives, fertility drugs, and other medications; and, the risk associated with exposure to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Early Detection and Proper Treatment are Important

The earlier cancer in children can be diagnosed, the better. The majority of cancers demonstrate a response to chemotherapy, radiation therapy and/or surgery. Any delay in the diagnosis of cancer can rob a child of treatment options and increase the potential for metastasis (spread) of cancer while shortening the lifespan of a child.

Most children’s cancers are treated primarily with adult chemotherapy over the course of one to several years. Some cancers also require radiation therapy, surgery, and/or bone-marrow transplants. Chemotherapy is a group of highly toxic chemical drugs that were developed to kill fast-replicating cells. These drugs are non-specific -they don’t distinguish between diseased and healthy tissue and result in severe reactions such as hair loss, nausea, significant weight loss and weakness associated toxicity. Radiation therapy, while it can be targeted, is also an indiscriminate killer of healthy tissue and organs. Even if a cure or remission is obtained, children can develop long-term medical problems, including the development of secondary cancers from the chemotherapy or radiation itself.

The Lewis Law Firm has a long history of representing children with cancer, and their families in Philadelphia and New Jersey. If your child has been diagnosed with cancer, contact the Lewis Law Firm for a FREE consultation and review of your case, today.

For More Cancer Information and Resources Look Here:

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

American Cancer Society

National Cancer Institute

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