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What is Childhood Cancer?

Sep 01st, 2023 | by Cara Fletcher

Cara Fletcher

September 01st, 2023

What is Childhood Cancer?

Cancer is more uncommon in children when compared to adults. Cancer occurs when cells, the basic building blocks in our bodies, grow uncontrollably. Cells are constantly reproducing in our bodies and when errors occur in this process, it leads to the development of cancerous cells. Cancer can happen in any part of the body and can affect people of all ages. More common types of childhood cancer include:

  • Leukemia (cancer of the blood)
  • Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph system)
  • Osteosarcoma (cancer of the bone)
  • Brain cancer

What Causes Childhood Cancer?

In many cases, the exact cause of cancer is unknown. Cancer can be caused by a variety of facts and it’s often a combination of these factors rather than just a single cause. These factors include:

  • Genetic factors: genetic mutations or inherited genetic conditions can increase the risk of developing cancer. These mutations may have been passed down through the family or occur spontaneously during a person’s life.
  • Environmental Factors: exposure to certain substances in the environment such as smoke, ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, asbestos, and others can increase the risk of developing cancer.
  • Infections: some infections caused by viruses, bacteria or parasites can increase the risk of certain types of cancer.

What Are Some Signs and Symptoms of Childhood Cancer?

The signs and symptoms of childhood cancer can vary depending on the cancer type and where it is in the body. Some general signs and symptoms include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Persistent fever, fatigue, and infections
  • Unexplained pain, bruising or bleeding
  • Lumps or swelling

What Are Some Challenges Children With Cancer Will Face?

Children with cancer face numerous challenges, including:

  • Physical: fatigue, pain, nausea, vomiting, hair loss, weakened immune systems
  • Emotional and psychological: a cancer diagnosis is often an emotionally distressing ordeal, and the long-term emotional impacts can be feelings of fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, confusion, and feelings of social isolation, and uncertainty about their future
  • Long-term health complications: organ damage, growth delays, increased risk of secondary cancer later in life

What Are Some Treatment Options for Childhood Cancer?

Treatment typically involves a combination of:

  • Chemotherapy: a type of drug that is used to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing and multiplying. They can be provided in various forms such as pills, injections, or intravenously.
  • Radiation therapy: the use of high-energy radiation beams to target and destroy cancer cells.
  • Surgery: the physical removal of cancerous tumors and tissues from the body through an operation.

About the Author

Cara was driven to pursue Occupational Therapy as a career path when she saw firsthand how occupational therapists were able to help her sister. She wishes to help other families in a similar way and is excited to be a positive presence in their lives and help in any way she can! Cara enjoys training at the gym, spending time with her puppy, and going out with friends.

About NAPA Centre

In this blog, we discuss causes, characteristics, therapy and treatment options for Down syndrome.At NAPA Centre, we take an individualised approach to therapy because we understand that each child is unique with very specific needs. We embrace differences with an understanding that individualised programs work better. For this reason, no two therapeutic programs are alike. If your child needs our services, we will work closely with you to select the best therapies for them, creating a customised program specific to your child’s needs and your family’s goals. Let your child’s journey begin today by contacting us to learn more.

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