Cancer is a degenerative disease that begins with the development of abnormal cells that “eliminate” nutrients in the body. As a result, the body experiences a number of malfunctions in tissues and organs, to the point that it can cause death. Cancer is susceptible for adults. So, what about cancer in children?
Definition and Causes of Cancer in Children
Cancer in children is a case of cancer that occurs in children and teens. Although both are characterized by the development of cancer cells, the types of cancer in children are generally different from the types of cancer suffered by adults.
In adults, the cause of cancer can be due to lifestyle and diet. Cancer in children is more caused by gene mutations that cause changes in DNA, even when the child is still in the womb. Family genetic disorders (familial syndrome) such as Down syndrome are also suspected to increase the risk of childhood cancer. Gene mutations are caused by many factors, for example exposure to cigarettes while the child is still in the womb.
Types of Cancer in Children
There are 8 common types of cancer in children, namely:
Leukemia is a type of cancer that occurs in the spinal cord. Leukemia is a cancer in children that is very dangerous. As a result of leukemia is the production of abnormal white blood cells (leukocytes). The peak, leukocytes cannot be produced, which is then followed by disruption of the production of red blood cells (erythrocytes) and platelets.
Not only that, the effects of leukemia also interfere with brain function, and damage the skin, spleen, gums, and testes.
This type of cancer in children attacks immune cells (lymphocytes), lymph node organs, tonsils, and thymus glands. Lymphoma results in the formation of glands in parts of the body affected by this one cancer cell, such as in the armpits, groin, and neck.
Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that attacks nerve cells. This neuroblastoma can attack the embryo or fetus that are exposed to radiation or other harmful chemicals. Nevertheless, neuroblastoma is rarely found in children over the age of 10 years.
4. Central Nervous System Cancer
In general, the beginning of the growth of cancer cells occurs in the lower brain (cerebellum), then spread to the spinal cord. If these cancer cells have invaded the central nervous system, the child will experience a decline in the ability to think, even paralysis.
5. Bone Cancer
Bone cancer is a type of cancer in children that usually attacks adolescents or in puberty. This cancer attacks the flat bones (ewing sarcoma), also the ends of the bones in the legs and arms (osteosarcoma). If your child experiences bone pain, especially at night, consult a doctor immediately because this could be a sign of bone cancer.
6. Eye Cancer (Retinoblastoma)
Eye cancer or retinoblastoma is also one of the most common cancers in children. Generally, this type of cancer attacks children aged babies up to 2 years. The presence of anomalies in the eyes such as reddish eyes, so that the eye reflects white light when exposed to light can be a sign of retinoblastoma.
Cancer in children can also be rhabdomyosarcoma. This type of cancer attacks the skeletal muscles that function to move the body. Rhabdomyosarcoma can grow and develop in all parts of the body that have skeletal muscle cells.
Nephroblastoma or “Wilms tumor” is a type of cancer in children that develops in kidney organs. This cancer is commonly experienced by children aged 3-4 years.
Symptoms of Cancer in Children
Cancer in children has no specific symptoms. The existence of general symptoms could be a signal that the child is actually having cancer. What are the symptoms of cancer in children that you need to know?
1. Drastic Weight Loss
If your baby has lost weight, even though there is nothing wrong with his diet, you should immediately see a doctor. A child’s weight loss that has dropped dramatically may be a symptom of cancer in children, so it should not be underestimated.
2. Swollen Lymph Nodes
Swelling of the lymph nodes is also suspected to be one of the symptoms of cancer, such as non-hodgin lymphoma cancer. The neck, armpits, chest, abdomen are examples of parts of the body that have lymph nodes. If there are lumps in these parts, it is better to immediately check your child to the doctor.
3. Nose is often Nosebleed
Nose bleeding or nosebleeds in children is actually natural, considering the blood vessels in the front of the nose are still thin.
Another story if the nosebleeds occur at least 4-5 times a month because this can be a sign of cancer symptoms, such as lymphoblastic leukemia (lymphoblastic leukemia). This type of cancer often attacks children.
4. Shortness of breath
Forty percent of leukemia symptoms are characterized by shortness of breath. Take immediate action by taking the child to the doctor if you experience this.
Headache turned out to be one of the symptoms of cancer in children, you know! This is due to a tumor in the brain so that the brain experiences pressure which then causes head pain.
6. The wound does not heal
When a child suffers injuries from a fall and so on, then that is natural and will soon disappear within a few days. However, if the wound does not heal, this could be a sign that there are serious problems, including symptoms of cancer.
Do not delay. Immediately take your child to the doctor for further examination. Early treatment can prevent cancer cells from developing.
The cause of seizures can be due to fever, trauma, to lack of oxygen. There is also a possibility that seizures can be a symptom of cancer, as revealed by the Parkway Cancer Center.
Bleeding is a symptom of cancer in children, especially nephroblastoma. This symptom can be seen from urine that bleeds.
9. Easily Tired
One symptom of lymphoma is the body easily feels tired. At first glance these symptoms are symptoms of general illness. Immediately visit the relevant doctor if your child experiences this to ensure the cause of the body is easily tired.
10. Impaired vision
Does your child complain about blurred vision? Be aware, because this could be a symptom of cancer. Early detection is very necessary to be done to see the relationship between vision problems with cancer.