Paediatric Cancers remains a concerning issue in India, affecting an estimated 75,000 children each year. However, this number pales in comparison to the approximately 14 lakh cases of adult cancer diagnosed annually in the country. This article aims to shed light on various critical aspects of childhood cancer, including its types, warning signs, causes, diagnosis, treatment options, and post-treatment prospects, all while underscoring the expertise of the Best Pediatric Oncologist in Delhi NCR.
Types of Childhood Cancer
Childhood cancer encompasses various types, such as:
- Acute Leukemia: Affects the bone marrow and blood, commonly referred to as blood cancer.
- Brain Tumors: The second most common pediatric cancer.
- Neuroblastoma: Emerges from early nerve cell forms and often affects the adrenal gland.
- Wilms Tumor: Originates in one or both kidneys.
- Lymphomas: Arise from lymphocytes, impacting lymph nodes and sometimes bone marrow.
- Rhabdomyosarcoma: One of the most common soft tissue sarcomas in children.
- Retinoblastoma: An eye cancer often characterized by a white or pinkish pupil.
- Bone Cancers: Mainly Osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma, originating within bone tissues.
Warning Signs of Paediatric Cancers
Symptoms indicating childhood cancer can vary, but some common indicators include:
- Recurring or persistent fevers without an obvious cause.
- Unexplained and continued weight loss.
- Headaches, often accompanied by early morning vomiting without nausea.
- Persistent bone, joint, back, or leg pain.
- Painless lumps or masses in the abdomen, neck, chest, pelvis, or armpits.
- Excessive bruising, bleeding, or the development of rashes.
- A whitish appearance behind the pupil.
- Consistent fatigue or noticeable paleness.
Causes of Childhood Cancer
Around 90% of childhood cancers stem from random DNA and genetic defects, unlike adult cancers that often result from lifestyle or environmental factors like smoking and obesity. The remaining 10% of cases may involve inherited genetic mutations from parents or associations with environmental exposures like parental smoking, home pesticide exposure, and radiation.
Diagnosis of Childhood Cancer
Early detection is key for successful treatment. Diagnosis methods include bone marrow examination and specialized tests like flow cytometry for blood cancer. Imaging tests such as ultrasounds, CT scans, or MRIs help determine tumor extent, followed by biopsies and genetic tests to identify cancer cell types.
Treatment for childhood cancer involves tailored strategies, typically utilizing chemotherapy, surgery to remove solid tumors, radiation, and bone marrow transplants in certain advanced cases. Early diagnosis and comprehensive treatment at specialized facilities significantly impact successful outcomes.
Children who undergo successful treatment can resume normal lives, including social interactions, schooling, and planning for their future. Life expectancy returns to normal if cancer is cured, although some rare cases may experience long-term side effects, requiring regular clinical follow-ups post-therapy.
The expertise of the Best Pediatric Oncologist in Delhi NCR is crucial in steering children towards the right diagnosis, treatment, and post-treatment care, ensuring the best possible outcomes for these young patients.