The cancers that affect children are usually much different from those seen in adults. They tend to occur in different areas of the body than in adults, and also respond differently to treatment. There are many major types and subtypes of cancer in children, each one requiring a detailed study to formulate the best possible treatment for the child.
Overall, there are three major types of children’s cancer – leukaemia, lymphoma, sarcoma.
Leukemia is the cancer of the blood and bone marrow. When blood cells multiply too rapidly and crowd out the healthy cells, a person develops leukemia. Leukemia is of two types, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). This cancer is the most common of all childhood cancer types, accounting for about 31% of all cancers in children. Leukemia can cause fatigue, bleeding or bruising, joint and bone pain, weight loss, fever, and other symptoms.
Leukemia starts in the bone marrow and spreads to the bloodstream. The cancer begins when a young white blood cell in the bone marrow develops a series of mutations and goes on to multiply rapidly and uncontrollably. Eventually, the white blood cells crowd out other healthy cells and take over the entire bone marrow. At the time of diagnosis, almost a trillion Leukemia cells are typically present in the body.
Lymphoma is a type of cancer of the lymphoid tissues and the immune system. The body has a different system called the immune system. Unhealthy cells and foreign cells are targeted and destroyed by the immune system to ensure good health. Lymphocytes are the warriors cells in our body which fights against intruders and diseases. Lymphocytes are present in the lymphoid tissues of the body.
Lymphoma starts in lymphocytes, often growing in lymph nodes and lymph tissues. They affect the bone marrow and other vital organs of the body. Depending on where the cancer is, the symptoms can vary. Fever, weight loss, sweats, fatigue, and lumps under the skin in the armpit, neck, or groin are the common symptoms.
There are two main types of lymphoma-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Hodgkin’s lymphoma makes 4% of all childhood cancers. This cancer is common in children from the age of 15, and is rare in children younger than five years of age. This cancer is very similar in both children and adults, and the treatments are also similar. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is likely to occur in younger children, but it is rare in children less than three years of age. The cancer can grow quickly and need extensive treatment, but they tend to respond better to the treatment protocol than non-Hodgkin lymphoma in adults.
Sarcoma is a solid tumor which is formed by lumps of sick cells sticking together. This tumor can develop in different parts of the body including liver, brain, bones, and kidneys.Again, the cancer cells crowd out other healthy cells and prevent them from doing their job. Ewing sarcoma, neuroblastoma, and Wills tumors are the different types of solid tumors.
Ewing sarcoma is a type of bone cancer that can be painful. Often found in teens, it is most commonly found in the pelvic bones, chest wall, or the leg bones. Bone cancer can cause severe bone pain and also lead to swelling in the area.
Neuroblastoma is a cancer that affects the sympathetic nervous system, which is the messaging network connecting the brain to other parts of the body. The tumors can grow in the neck, abdomen, or pelvis. This is the most common type of cancer that is found in infants, and it can even form before birth. The cancer is diagnosed on an average around age 2, and is rarely found in children above 10 years of age.
Wills tumor is a type of cancer that begins in the kidneys. It is one of the most common types of kidney cancer is in children. Most Wills tumors are unilateral, meaning that they affect only one kidney. In about 5% of cases, both kidneys are affected.
The medical science has not found a complete cure for cancer as yet, but there are many advanced treatments that are available today which hugely improve the chances of successful recovery and remission. If a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, do not lose heart. Start treatment immediately to ensure a very high chance of beating the disease.
Author Bio: Sameer Gupta is a medical writer who writes well-researched, in-depth cancer articles which provide relevant information to help patients combat the deadly disease. Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) prides in providing the best cancer treatment solutions to patients who have endured to various cancer types.