What is childhood cancer?
Children can develop cancer in any part of the body like lymph nodes, blood, brain, spinal cord, kidney, and other organs or tissues. In maximum cases, the underlying cause is unexplained. The cancer of childhood may act differently than adulthood cancer even after the origin of cancer is similar.
Cancer starts when cell proliferation becomes uncontrolled due to genetic mutation. Usually, uncontrolled cancer growth leads to tumor formation. The nature of the tumor may benign and cancerous. Cancerous tumor growth is also termed as a malignant tumor that means it spread and grows in other parts of the body also. Benign tumor growth is stagnant and does not spread to other parts of the body.
Leukemia is a type of blood cancer that starts in the bone marrow. These abnormal cells usually do not form a solid tumor but create hassle in the production of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. But all these blood cells have significant physiological roles:
- Normal red blood cells supply oxygen to other tissues.
- White blood cells fight against infections.
- Platelets require for blood clotting.
Types of childhood cancer
Childhood cancer or pediatric cancer is a generalized term used to illustrate a range of cancer cells that develop in children. Following are some common types of cancer diagnosed in children below 15 years of age:
A 29% childhood cancer is a type of leukemia. Generally, leukemia is two types acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Almost 26% of childhood cancer in the brain and spinal cord tumors that knew as central nervous system (CNS) tumors.
Glial tumor, Mixed glial neuronal tumors, Neural tumors, Embryonal tumors, Ependymoblastoma, Ependymoblastoma, and Pineal tumors are some common tumor growth occurs in childhood.
Neuroblastoma occurs at immature nerve cells. Almost 6% of childhood cancer is a type of neuroblastoma. The adrenal glands are a part of the hormonal system that is located on the top of the kidney is the origin of neuroblastoma.
Almost 5% of childhood cancer is Wilms tumor, a type of kidney cancer.
Cancers that start from the lymph system are Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (5%) and Hodgkin lymphoma (3%) also occurs in childhood cancer.
Almost 3% of childhood cancer belongs to rhabdomyosarcoma that begins in the striated skeletal muscles. Non-rhabdomyosarcoma can also occur in childhood. This condition occurs in soft tissue sarcomas that affect other parts of the body.
Only 2% of cases eye tumors occur as retinoblastoma at childhood.
Osteosarcoma (2%) and Ewing sarcoma (1%) occur at the adjoining part of the bone.
Germ cell tumors rarely develop childhood cancer. However, boys develop this cancer in the testicles and girls develop such cancer in their ovaries. In a rare instance, the origin of such cancer may include the brain or other parts of the body.
Pleuropulmonary blastoma is a rare childhood cancer that occurs in lung cancer.
Hepatoblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma are types of liver tumors.
Cancer develops at teenage and at young adulthood
Researchers are working hard to understand the details of cancer develop after 14 years of age so that early diagnosis can save teenage and young adult cancer patients. During adolescent age, teenage cancer patients require additional medical, social, and emotional needs that are different from normal teenagers. Teenagers have a higher risk to develop cancer that is commonly found in adults like melanoma, testicular cancer, and ovarian cancer. Along with standard treatment, teenagers require extra age-appropriate support to fulfill their social and emotional needs. Therefore, consultation with the healthcare team is essential to provide extra care for them. Following are some common cancers that occur at age of 15 to 19 years:
- Hodgkin lymphoma (15%)
- Thyroid cancer (11%)
- Central nervous system (CNS) tumors (10%)
- Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) (8%)
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (8%)
- Germ cell tumors, including testicular cancer (8%)
- Soft tissue sarcoma (7%)
- Bone tumors (7%) including osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma
- Melanoma (6%)
- Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) (4%)
- Ovarian cancer (2%)