Cancer is a growth of abnormal cells. The cancer cells may spread to other parts of the body over time. There are different kinds of cancer, depending on the type of cancer cell and where in the body the abnormal cells are growing. Overall children are less likely to get cancer than adults.
The most common childhood cancers include:
The sooner cancer is found and treated, the better your child's chances for recovery. However, even advanced cancer can usually be treated. Treatment may slow or temporarily stop the growth of the cancer and ease symptoms. Ask your healthcare provider what you can expect with the type of cancer that your child has.
What causes cancer in children is often not known. Exposure to certain chemicals may cause some cancers to form. Being exposed to radiation, such as being treated with radiation for other types of cancer may increase the risk for cancer later in life. Viruses such as the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and human papillomavirus (HPV) have been linked to an increased risk for certain childhood cancers. Some kinds of cancer run in families.
There is no one common symptom for childhood cancer. Children with cancer may have fevers, loss of appetite, pain, and swollen glands. Other symptoms depend on the type of cancer and the location of the cancer in the child’s body.
You and your healthcare provider will discuss possible treatments for your child. You may also talk with surgeon and a cancer specialist. Some things to think about when making treatment decisions are:
Possible treatments are:
Your child’s treatment will also include:
Often, more than 1 treatment is used. After treatment, your child will need to have regular follow-up visits with your healthcare provider.
Most children with cancer can be cured. Children cured of cancer have more risk of getting a second cancer later in life. The risk depends on the type of cancer and how it was treated.
If your child has cancer:
It may also help if your child:
Counseling and support groups can help children and parents cope with the situation and help families adjust to the changes in their lives.
For more information, contact: