Childhood cancers

Childhood cancers generally include cancers which are observed under 15 ages, in between 0-14 ages. The childhood cancers differentiate strongly with various features from those of the adults. Cancer is observed less in children than adults. Childhood cancers constitute 1% of the whole cancers. Childhood cancers are today cured with early diagnosis and appropriate therapies.

The most frequently observed cancer type in children is Acute Leukaemia. In the second rank there are brain tumours and then Malign Lymphomas.

In the children cancer risk is mainly determined with genetic factors. But also the environmental factors do have an effect. Exposure to radiation and chemicals like pesticides in mother's womb, cigarette and alcohol consumption of the mother during pregnancy increase cancer risk.

In childhood cancers the following symptoms are observed.

  • Paleness in skin,
  • Malaise, inaccetence
  • Recurring fever
  • Loss of weight
  • Progressing panicula at the neck (generally without pain and not responding to antibiotics)
  • Mass in the venter or breast
  • Pain at bones
  • Bleedings (at skin other organ bleedings)
  • Panicula at eyes and other changes
  • Headache, morning vomiting
  • Limping

Most frequently observed cancer types in children are the following:

  • Acute Leukaemia (Blood cancers)
  • Brain Tumours
  • Malign Lymphomas (Lymph gland cancer)
  • Neuroblastoma: A cancer type observed in nerve cells.
  • Wilm's Tumour: A kind of kidney cancer type observed in young children.
  • Bone Tumours (Osteosarcoma and Ewing's Sarcoma)
  • Soft Tissue Cancers (Rhabdomyosarcoma etc)
  • Retinoblastoma: A cancer type that is observed at the eye retina.
  • Germinoma and Gonadal Tumours
  • Hepatoblastoma: A rare liver tumour observed in children.
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Malign Melanoma (Skin cancer)

In childhood cancers there is multi directional treatment; but drug therapy, i.e. chemotherapy has an important place in the treatment. In tumours for excretion of the tumour or biopsy surgery is used. In childhood cancers rapid growth of the cells causes them to be sensitive to chemotherapy. Chemotherapy may be used as adjuvant therapy and also in order to make the tumour smaller and to prevent the possible metastasis before surgery.

Radiotherapy is not used alone except urgent conditions in childhood cancers. Generally it may be added too chemotherapy in some sensitive tumours.

Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) is a method that is especially used in leukaemia, and it is based on the principle of transplanting the normal stem cells to the patient.

The palliative treatments are treatments that are applied in patients who have serious and terminal stage conditions and in the advanced countries in recent years they are made efficient for eliminating many symptoms mainly the pain.

Also findings such as anaemia, bleeding, infections and metabolic disorders which accompany cancer should be treated with supportive treatment methods.