The Month of September is about bringing awareness to Childhood Cancer. In just the United States alone, 2020 will bring an estimated 11,050 new cases in children from infancy to 14 years old. While cancer is more common in adults, 1 in 285 children will develop cancer before the age of 20. Cancer can appear anywhere in the body such as, the blood and lymph node systems, brain and spinal cord (central nervous system; CNS), kidneys and other organs and tissues.
How does cancer start? Cancer happens when healthy cells change and grow out of control. Most of the time this is a mass, called a tumor. Tumors can be cancerous or benign. A cancerous tumor can grow throughout the body and a benign tumor can grow, but does not spread to other parts of the body. When it comes to leukemia, this cancer starts in the bone marrow, and rarely forms a solid tumor. These cells crowd out other types of cells in the bone marrow, preventing the production of Normal red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
Childhood Cancer is a term used to describe a wide range of cancer types and noncancerous tumors found in children. Childhood Cancer is also known as pediatric cancer and includes some of these most common types by cancer.net:
Leukemia (accounts for about 29% of childhood cancer cases)
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
Brain and spinal cord tumors (26%), also called central nervous system (CNS) tumors
Choroid plexus carcinoma
Mixed glial neuronal tumors
Desmoplastic infantile ganglioglioma
Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdoid tumor
Neuroblastoma (6%), a tumor of immature nerve cells. The tumor often starts in the adrenal glands, which are located on top of the kidneys and are part of the body’s endocrine (hormonal) system.
Wilms tumor (5%), a type of kidney tumor
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (5%) and Hodgkin lymphoma (3%), cancers that begin in the lymph system
Rhabdomyosarcoma (3%), a type of tumor that most commonly begins in the striated skeletal muscles. Non-rhabdomyosarcoma soft tissue sarcomas can also occur in other parts of the body.
Retinoblastoma (2%), an eye tumor
Osteosarcoma (2%) and Ewing sarcoma (1%), tumors that usually begin in or near the bone
Germ cell tumors, rare tumors that begin in the testicles of boys or ovaries of girls. Rarely, these tumors can begin in other places in the body, including the brain.
Pleuropulmonary blastoma, a rare kind of lung cancer
Hepatoblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma, types of liver tumors.
What are some of the signs of cancer? Unexplained weight loss, headaches with early morning vomiting, lumps or masses, excessive bruising, bleeding or rash, nausea that won’t go away, tiredness, paleness and more. If you are concerned that your child might have some of these signs, have your doctor check them out right away. This month we bring awareness to Childhood Cancer, and we encourage you to share information with your friends and family. We will be post information all month long in addition to this article.