The total number of reported cases of childhood cancers has been increasing exponentially over the years. Besides common leukaemia, children may also be affected with solid tumours found in the brain, bones and other parts of the body. Childhood cancers are different from adult cancers in every way and their treatment procedures are different too because of the developing stage of the child’s body and mind. [Read: Best Treatments of Cancer]
Take a look at some of the less-known cancers of childhood.
Wilm’s Tumour – It is a rare type of kidney cancer that affects children. In this type of cancer, a tumour develops in one or both the kidneys. Genetic factors and birth defects are some of the leading causes of increase in the risk of developing Wilm’s tumour. Children at risk of Wilm’s tumour are screened every three months until they turn eight. Blood in the urine and a lump in the abdomen are signs of the cancer. The tumour is usually removed by a surgery. Some other types of treatment for Wilm’s tumour include chemotherapy, radiation, biologic therapy or a combination.
Clear Cell Sarcoma of the Kidney (CCSK) – This unusual cancer develops as a tumour in a kidney. Its symptoms are similar to those of Wilm’s tumour and it can only be identified after its removal.
Ewing Sarcoma – A less-known childhood cancer, Ewing sarcoma, is a form of bone cancer that occurs in children above five years of age. The cancer starts with the development of a cavity in the bone. [Read: Reasons of Bone Marrow Cancer in Children]
Hodgkin Disease – A kind of cancer of the lymph nodes, Hodgkin disease usually affects teenagers. Cancerous cells start developing in the lymph nodes of any of the organs including the liver, bone marrow and spleen.
Neuroblastoma –This cancer form has a negative impact on the nervous system of children below 10 years affecting their body movements.
Non-Hodgkins Lymphomas – In this rare childhood cancer, the cells of the immune system (T and B lymphocytes, natural killer cells) become cancerous. The affected cells produced in the bone marrow travel to the lymph glands, areas of the intestinal tract, tonsils and spleen.
Osteogenic Sarcoma – This bone tumour develops in adolescents, especially in their large bones of the upper arm (humerus) and leg (femur and tibia).
Retinoblastoma – It is a cancer of the retinoblasts in which cancerous cells develop within the retina and affect vision. Retinoblastoma occurs in children aged up to 3 years. The cause of retinoblastoma in 40 per cent of the cases of this form of cancer is genetic factors. Those caused by non-genetic reasons affect only one eye. Removal of an eye early in childhood is not a preferred method of removing cancer cells because of which several treatments have been developed that work towards preserving the vision.
Among other rare childhood cancers include germ cell tumours, liver tumours (hepatoblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma), colon cancer, melanoma, nasalpharangyal cancer, adrenocortoco carcinoma and thyroid tumours.
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