Recognize 9 Types of Cancer that are Vulnerable to Attacking Children
Cancer is a disease that can affect anyone, including children. Cancer that attacks children has many types based on the affected body part. So, what are the most common types of cancer in children? Check out the full explanation below.
Various Types of Cancer that Often Attack Children
Cancer is a condition when cells or tissues in the body experience abnormal and uncontrolled growth. There are various types of cancer that can attack, some of which are known to be more susceptible to attack children.
Childhood cancer is a type of cancer that affects children under 18 years of age or those who are still in the womb.
Knowing these facts, it is important for parents to recognize the type of cancer in children and its symptoms. Several types of cancer are common, including:
Leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children and adolescents. This type of cancer is known to dominate around 28 percent of cancer cases in children. The most common types of leukemia are acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Symptoms of leukemia in children that can occur include:
- pale skin
- Tired more easily.
- Decreased appetite.
- Long-lasting fever with no known cause.
- Enlarged liver, spleen, and lymph nodes.
- Skin bleeding and/or spontaneous bleeding.
- Joint and bone pain.
- Often sick or infected.
- Easy nosebleeds, bleeding gums, and bruising.
Lymphoma is cancer that starts in the lymph nodes. This type of cancer in children can also affect the bone marrow and other organs.
There are two types of lymphoma that are prone to attack children and adults, namely Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Symptoms will depend on the initial location of the cancer. But in general, lymphoma can cause lumps under the neck, armpits, or groin.
In addition, children can also experience several symptoms such as:
- Weight loss
- Hard to breathe.
- Night sweats
Also Read: Getting to Know Immunotherapy, Methods for Treating Various Types of Cancer
This type of cancer can affect children under the age of 5, but rarely occurs in children over the age of 10.
Neuroblastoma most often appears in and around the adrenal glands; which are similar to nerve cells and sit on top of the kidneys. However, this type of cancer can also develop in other areas such as the stomach, chest, neck and near the spine.
Recognizable symptoms of neuroblastoma include:
- Bleeding around the eyes.
- Protruding eyes.
- Bone pain.
- Stomach feels full.
- The eyelid in one eye drooped.
- Pupillary contraction.
- Dry eyes
- Swelling in the neck.
- Impaired bladder and bowel function.
4. Bone Cancer
Bone cancer or osteosarcoma can affect children of any age, but is most common in older children and adolescents. This type of cancer accounts for about 3 percent of cancer cases in children.
If your child has pain in the bones, especially at night, see a doctor immediately because this could be a sign of bone cancer. Other symptoms that can occur include:
- Stiffness or tenderness at the tumor site.
- Pain gets worse over time.
- Swelling or mass around the affected bone.
- Decreased motor skills, including difficulty walking or limping.
- Brittle bones that can cause fractures.
- Weight loss.
Another type of bone cancer that can affect children is Ewing’s sarcoma. Although relatively rare, this condition triggers symptoms similar to osteosarcoma, namely:
- High fever.
- Weight loss
- Easily tired.
6. Eye Cancer
Eye cancer or retinoblastoma is a rare type of cancer in children. Generally, this type of cancer attacks children under the age of 5 years.
Retinoblastoma can affect one or both eyes. If it occurs in both eyes, it is usually diagnosed before the child is 1 year old. Meanwhile, if it occurs in 1 eye, it tends to be diagnosed between the ages of 2 to 3 years.
Any abnormalities in the eyes such as redness of the eyes so that the eyes reflect white light or when exposed to light or ‘cat’s eye’, could be a symptom of retinoblastoma.
Other symptoms of eye cancer include:
- Change in the color of the iris in one eye.
- The eye is inflamed, although the child does not complain of any pain.
- Bad eyesight.
If caught early, eye cancer is often treated successfully.
Also Read: Squint in Babies: Causes and How to Overcome It
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is a rare type of cancer that grows in soft tissue, particularly skeletal muscle tissue or sometimes hollow organs (such as the bladder or uterus).
This cancer can occur at any age, but is most common in children. This type of cancer accounts for about 3 percent of all cancers in children.
Symptoms of this cancer depend on its location, such as in the head or neck area which is characterized by symptoms such as:
- Protruding or swollen eyes.
- Bleeding in the nose, throat or ears.
If cancer occurs in the urinary tract or reproductive system, the following symptoms may occur, including:
- Difficulty urinating and blood in the urine.
- Mass or bleeding in the vagina or rectum.
- Difficulty defecating
Nephroblastoma or Wilms’ tumor is a type of cancer in children that develops in the kidneys. This cancer is generally experienced by children aged 3-4 years.
This condition usually occurs in only one kidney, although sometimes it can occur in both kidneys simultaneously.
The symptoms of this type of cancer vary widely, and some children don’t even have any obvious symptoms. However, most sufferers experience a mass in the abdomen that can be felt, abdominal swelling, and abdominal pain.
Other signs to recognize include:
- Blood in urine.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- No appetite.
- Hard to breathe.
- High blood pressure (hypertension).
9. Nasopharyngeal cancer
This cancer occurs in the nasopharynx, which is located behind the nose and above the back of the throat (pharynx). This type of cancer in children is much more common in Southeast Asia.
This type of cancer is difficult to detect early because the nasopharynx is not easy to examine and its symptoms are similar to those of other conditions.
Some of the symptoms that may occur include:
- A lump in the neck due to swollen lymph nodes.
- Blood in saliva.
- Nasal congestion or ringing in the ears.
- Hearing disorders.
- Frequent ear infections.
- Sore throat.
Now, those are some types of cancer that often occur in children. If your little one experiences the symptoms mentioned above, immediately consult a doctor.
It is important to know, early cancer diagnosis can increase the success of therapy and prevent cancer from developing further.
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- Anonymous. 2022. Rhabdomyosarcoma. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rhabdomyosarcoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20390962. (Accessed 8 February 2023).
- Anonymous. 2020. Wilms’ Tumor. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wilms-tumor/symptoms-causes/syc-20352655. (Accessed 8 February 2023).
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