If your family is affected by a childhood cancer, you want to know more so you can be there for your child in every way. Cancers that affect children are very different from the cancers that affect adults.
Understand these five most common childhood cancers
Leukemia is a blood and bone marrow cancer. It’s the most common form of childhood cancer. Leukemia may cause:
- Bone and joint pain
- Pale skin
- Bleeding or bruising
- Weight loss
Brain and spinal cord tumors. Many types of childhood central nervous system tumors exist. Brain tumors are far more common than tumors in the spinal cord. In children, brain tumors most often occur in the lower parts of the brain. Symptoms may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred or double vision
- Stumbling or falling
Neuroblastoma commonly affects infants and young children. It starts before birth in the early nerve cells of a developing fetus or embryo. Common neuroblastoma symptoms include:
- Swelling, or a lump, usually in the stomach area
- Bone pain
Wilms tumor most often starts in one of the two kidneys. Children are usually diagnosed between the ages of three and four. Common Wilms tumor symptoms include:
- Swelling or a lump in the stomach area
- Appetite loss
Lymphoma starts in the cells of the child’s immune system. These cells are called lymphocytes. Lymphomas often grow in the lymph nodes or lymph system like the tonsils or thymus gland. Because the lymph system carries fluid throughout the body, lymphomas can also travel to a child’s bone marrow and other organs.
Two kinds of childhood lymphoma exist. They respond to treatment differently.
- Hodgkin lymphoma is most often diagnosed in the mid-to-late teens and, rarely, before age five.
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma grows quickly in children, but also often responds well to treatment. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is usually diagnosed in younger children, but rarely before the age of three.
Common lymphoma symptoms include:
- Swollen glands or lumps in the armpits, neck or groin
- Weight loss
Get treatment and meaningful support.
Your child can get specialized treatment at Debbie Brass Children’s Cancer Center, located on the campus of ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital. The Center provides a full range of diagnosis, treatment, and support, including the My Journey Bead program, where kids get to tell their stories, express their joys, and share their sorrows through the meaningful use of colorful beads as symbols of their journey.
I want to meet with a pediatric oncologist.