The sad statistics of pediatric oncology suggests that the risk of developing malignant tumors annually is fifteen episodes for every hundred thousand children’s lives. In terms of fifteen years of childhood, this means that out of a hundred thousand peers, nearly two hundred children develop cancer every year.
There is also more optimistic statistics, according to which the majority of pediatric oncological diseases are amenable to successful treatment. This concerns tumors detected at the very initial stage of their development. In the case of neglected diseases, the likelihood of a favorable outcome decreases significantly.
Much to our regret, the number of children who become ill with cancer and were admitted to the clinic at the very beginning of the detection of the disease is not more than 10% of the total number of cases. In order for parents to not miss the first alarming signals and promptly show the child to the doctor, they should know the symptoms of the main children’s oncological diseases.
Childhood Cancer Classification
Malignant tumors in children are:
- Tumors of the adult type.
Tumors of this group are the result of a pathological process in germ cells.
As a result, uncontrolled growth of mutated cells occurs, the histology of which, however, indicates their similarity to the tissues and cells of the fetus (or embryo).
This group consists of:
This group of cancers occurs in children and adolescents as a result of the formation of cancer cells from completely healthy or partially altered cells.
Malignancy can suddenly touch a polyp, a benign neoplasm, or a stomach ulcer.
The number of juvenile tumors include:
This type of disease in childhood is rarely observed. These include:
Why do children get sick?
Until now, medicine has not established the exact causes of oncology in children. We can only assume that the prerequisites for the development of cancer are the following points:
- Genetically determined predisposition. Some types of oncological diseases (for example, retinoblastoma) can be traced in several generations of the same family, although this does not exclude the possibility of the birth of healthy offspring. Cancer is not inherited.
- Effect of carcinogenic factors. This concept combines environmental pollution (soil, air and water) with a large amount of industrial waste, the effects of radiation, the effects of viruses, and the abundance of artificial materials in modern apartment environments.
- Carcinogenic factors, affecting the germ cells of the parental couple, damage them and thus contribute to abnormal intrauterine development of the fetus, the emergence of a large number of congenital malformations and embryonic cancers.
Symptoms and signs of oncology by type
Early recognition of anxiety symptoms not only guarantees a complete recovery of the child, but also allows treatment with the most benign and inexpensive methods.
In this section of our article, we provide a list of symptoms that characterize different types of childhood cancer.
If similar symptoms are found, the parents of the sick baby should be shown as soon as possible to a qualified specialist.
Synonyms of this malignant disease of the hematopoietic system are the terms “blood cancer” and “leukemia.” It accounts for more than a third of the total number of childhood cancers.
At the first stage of development of leukemia, there is first crowding out, and then replacing healthy bone marrow cells with cancerous ones.
Symptoms of leukemia are the following symptoms:
- fast fatiguability;
- lethargy and weakness of muscles;
- anemichnost skin;
- lack of appetite and a sharp decrease in body weight;
- frequent bleeding;
- pain in diarthrosis and bones;
- a significant increase in the liver and spleen, entailing an increase in the abdomen;
- frequent vomiting;
- presence of shortness of breath;
- palpable enlargement of the lymph nodes located in the armpits, on the neck and in the inguinal region;
- visual disturbances and unbalanced walking;
- tendency to the formation of hematomas and redness of the skin.
Brain and spinal cord cancer
Cancer tumors of the brain appear in children 5-10 years old and find themselves in the following symptoms:
- unbearable morning headaches, aggravated by coughing and turning the head;
- bouts of vomiting on an empty stomach;
- impaired coordination of movements;
- gait imbalance;
- visual impairment;
- the appearance of hallucinations;
- total indifference and apathy.
Spinal cord cancer symptoms:
- pain in the back, worse when lying down, and subsiding while sitting;
- difficulty bending the case;
- gait disturbance;
- pronounced scoliosis;
- loss of sensitivity in the affected area;
- incontinence of urine and feces due to poor performance of the sphincters.
So called nephroblastoma or kidney cancer (most often one, sometimes both). This disease usually affects children under the age of three years.
Due to the complete absence of complaints, the disease is detected quite by accident, usually during a routine examination.
- At the initial stage, there is no pain.
- In the late stage, the tumor is extremely painful. Squeezing the adjacent organs, it leads to asymmetry of the abdomen.
- The kid refuses to eat and loses weight.
- The temperature rises slightly.
- Diarrhea develops.
This type of cancer affects only the children’s sympathetic nervous system. In most cases, it is observed in children under five years of age. The tumor is located in the abdomen, chest, neck, pelvis, often affects the bones.
- limping, bone pain complaints;
- excessive sweating;
- blanching of the skin;
- elevated temperature;
- violation of the bowel and bladder;
- swelling of the face, pharynx, swelling around the eyes.
This is the name of a malignant tumor of the eye retina, characteristic of infants and preschoolers. The third part of all cases involves the retina of both eyes in the process. In 5% of children the illness ends in complete blindness.
- The amazed eye reddens, the baby complains of severe pain in it.
- In some children, strabismus develops, in others – a symptom of a glowing “cat’s eye”, due to the protrusion of the tumor beyond the border of the lens. She can be seen through the pupil.
It is the name of a cancer of the connective or muscle tissues that affects babies, preschool children and schoolchildren. Most often, the site of localization of rhabdomyosarcoma is the neck and head, and more rarely the urethra, the region of the upper and lower extremities, and most rarely the trunk.
- painful swelling at the site of injury;
- “Rolling out” the eyeball;
- a sharp decline in vision;
- hoarse voice and difficulty swallowing (localized in the neck);
- prolonged abdominal pain, constipation and vomiting (with the defeat of the abdominal cavity);
- Yellowness of the skin (with bile duct cancer).
This is a cancer that affects the long (shoulder and hip) bones of adolescents. The leading symptom of osteosarcoma is pain in the affected bones, which tends to intensify towards the night. At the onset of the disease, the pain is short-lived. A few weeks later, visible swelling appears.
This disease, characteristic of adolescents 10-15 years old, is a scourge for the tubular bones of the upper and lower extremities. There were rare cases of lesions of the ribs, shoulder blades and collarbone. Sharp weight loss and fever are added to the symptoms characteristic of osteosarcoma. Late stages are characterized by unbearable pain and paralysis.
It is a cancer of the lymphatic tissues or lymphogranulomatosis, characteristic of adolescents.
The photographs show children with cancer of the lymphatic tissues.
- painless and slightly enlarged lymph nodes then disappear, then reappear;
- sometimes pruritus, excessive sweating, weakness, fever.
Satisfactory well-being of babies, characteristic even for the later stages of cancer, is the main reason for their late recognition.
Therefore, regular check-ups play a huge role in the timely detection and start of treatment of the disease.
- At the slightest suspicion of cancer, the doctor prescribes a number of laboratory tests (blood, urine) and research (MRI, ultrasound, CT scan).
- The final diagnosis is made on the basis of the results of a biopsy (histological examination of a sample of tumor tissue). Histology allows you to determine the stage of cancer. The tactics of further treatment depend on the stage. In cancer of the blood-forming organs, bone marrow puncture is taken.
- Treatment of children’s cancers is carried out in specialized departments of children’s clinics and in research centers.
- The effect on cancer of the hematopoietic organs is carried out by methods of conservative radiation and chemical therapy. Treatment of all other types of tumors produced by surgery.
- After discharge from the clinic should be a long course of therapeutic treatment, followed by rehabilitation.
Pediatric oncology is treated better than adult.
The probability of a complete cure, of course, directly depends on the timeliness of the initiated treatment, but there are cases of healing of patients even with the fourth stage of a cancer.