Childhood Cancers are extremely rare; they actually make up less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed annually. Unfortunately this means that there are no regular screening tests done, unless there is an increased risk to the child due to genetic predisposition.
As September marks International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the Little Fighters Cancer Trust is ramping up our posts to ensure that Awareness of Childhood Cancer is at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Today’s post will cover some of the common symptoms of Childhood Cancer, which should serve as Early Warning Signs and alert parents that should they should seek advice from a doctor.
While some of these signs could also be signs of other problems and do not always denote Childhood Cancer, if your child is exhibiting one or more of them it is important that you rather err on the safe side and have a doctor check them out.
Every day 700 children and adolescents below the age of 20 are diagnosed with cancer. Of the 250 000 diagnosed with cancer each year, about 90 000 of them will lose their lives to the disease.
Childhood cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease for children under the age of 15.
The symptoms of childhood cancer can be difficult to recognise because they often mimic those of typical childhood illnesses, such as the common cold.
Parents should only be concerned when symptoms persist, when they are getting worse, or if they seem out of proportion to what one would consider a typical childhood illness.
Any parent who is worried should talk with their Paediatrician, who has expertise recognising what is within the normal range of symptoms, and what is not.
Common Symptoms of Childhood Cancer Include
- Continued unexplained weight-loss
- Headaches – often with early-morning vomiting
- Increased pain in joints, bones, legs or back
- Lumps or unexplained masses
- Development of bruises, bleeding or rashes
- Constant Infections
- A whitish colour behind the pupils
- Nausea that persists or vomiting
- Constant tiredness or paleness
- Eye or vision changes that occur suddenly
- Recurrent or persistent unexplained fevers
The most common childhood cancers are leukaemia, brain tumours and other solid tumours, and symptoms or Early Warning Signs will depend on the type of cancer, so are not always the same.
Early Detection Saves Lives
It is vital that parents know and take note of the Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer because Early Detection Saves Lives!
Too many Children with Cancer are dying too young, especially in developing countries like South Africa because of the lack of knowledge about Child Cancer.
When Childhood Cancer is diagnosed early the child has far more of a chance of fighting and surviving the disease.
Since most of the symptoms of cancer can also be attributed to benign conditions, the diagnosis of cancer can be a long process. Parents must trust and work as a team with health professionals, using their knowledge of their child and health professional’s knowledge of medicine.
One of the Little Fighters Cancer Trust’s main objectives is to share knowledge about Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer by sharing information as widely as possible in an effort to make the public as well as medical personnel more aware of the Early Warning Signs, thereby saving thousands of lives, so please share this post.