September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and we want to bring you a little bit more information about this difficult topic. Along with this blog, you can also check out the American Cancer Society’s website for even more information.
One of the most frequently asked questions about childhood cancer is how it differs from cancers found in adults. Typically, cancers in adults form from lifestyle or environmental factors, however, childhood cancer develops within the child’s DNA and can even occur before birth.
Another reason childhood cancer is different than cancers that develop in adults has to do with the types of cancers that children can develop. The following list indicates types of childhood cancers:
● Brain and spinal cord tumors
● Wilms tumor
● Lymphoma (Hodgkin/non-Hodgkin)
● Bone cancer (osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma)
While these are the most common types of cancer in children, on rare occasions, cancers more typically found in adults can develop. Like mentioned before, more detailed information can be found about each of these types of cancer on the American Cancer Society website.
When it comes to symptoms of cancer, they can sometimes be difficult to decipher from common illness symptoms like colds/flus. Childhood cancer can be caught very early on by the diligence of doctors and family members. Therefore, it is so important to come in for routine checkups and keep an eye on symptoms to make sure they aren’t getting worse or are continuing.
● Lumps or swelling
● Unexplained paleness or loss of energy
● Pain in one central area
● Frequent headaches, with vomiting
● Sudden weight loss
● Change in vision
● Ongoing fever or illness
After reading this information, concern may be the immediate feeling. While it is important to bring awareness to childhood cancer and learn more about it, it is also important to remember that less than 1% of cancer diagnoses come from children. Last year a little over 10,000 children under the age of 15 were diagnosed, but the survival rate is also up significantly from previous decades.
We encourage each of our patients to come in for annual check-ups, especially if any illness symptoms are concerning or the health of your child has changed dramatically. Please call us at (540) 899-3554 or visit our website to set up an appointment.