Cancer or malignant tumors are the growth of uncontrolled cells or tissues, constantly growing and growing, and immortal or unable to die. Cancer cells can infiltrate surrounding tissues and can form scattered children.
Among the many types of cancer, there are cancers that often attack children. Childhood cancer is a cancer that affects children under the age of 18, including children who are still in the womb.
There are 6 types of cancer that often affect children. These cancers are leukemia, retinoblastoma, osteosarcoma, neuroblastoma, malignant lymphoma, and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Leukemia is the highest cancer in children (2.8 per 100,000), followed by retinoblastoma (2.4 per 100,000), osteosarcoma (0.97 per 100,000), lymphoma malignant (0.75 per 100,000), nasopharyngeal carcinoma (0.43 per 100,000), and neuroblastoma (10.5 per 1,000,000).
What is Childhood Cancer?
Almost every cell in the human body can develop abnormally into tumors and cancers. However, this type of cancer in children is usually different from cancer experienced by older persons.
If cancer in older persons is caused by consumption and lifestyle patterns, cancer in children is triggered by the gene mutations.
This causes DNA changes from the body’s cells from birth, or even when the child is still in the womb. Genetic abnormalities in families such as Down syndrome and other familial syndromes can increase the risk of cancer in children.
It is very rare for a child to have cancer due to a parent having a cancer gene, but gene mutations can occur due to radiation and exposure to cigarettes while the child is still in the womb.
Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates about 300,000 children aged 0-19 are diagnosed with cancer each year.
Childhood Cancer Types
There are 7 types of cancer that often affect children, the cancer is:
Leukemia is a disease of malignancy of blood cells derived from the bone marrow. Symptoms that can be seen are pale, weak, fussy child, decreased appetite, swollen stomach and fever which is not clear why.
After leukemia, the next most common type of childhood cancer is a brain tumor. The brain has several parts, brain tumors have many classifications depending on brain cells experiencing malignancy.
Symptoms of brain tumors in children also vary, as the brain regulates various functions in the body. For example, tumors are found in areas that regulate movement. Then it will show symptoms of brain tumors in the form of seizures, vomiting constantly without a clear cause, balance disorders, visual impairment, headache, and impaired consciousness.
Retinoblastoma is a primary malignant tumor in the eye that is often found in children aged 5 years. The symptoms are characterized by the presence of white eye beads, such as cat eyes, squint, signs of inflammation and enlargement of the eyeball.
Osteosarcoma is a malignancy that arises in the bone. The symptoms are characterized by bone pain, swelling and redness of the bone area.
Neuroblastoma is an embryonic tumor of the sympathetic nervous system derived from the forerunner of nerve tissue. The symptoms depend on where the tumor is located such as bleeding around the eyes and bulging eyes, bone pain, sudden limping, paralysis and an enlarged stomach.
Malignant lymphoma is the primary malignancy of dense lymph tissue. Symptoms are characterized by fever, night sweats, decreased weight, swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, groin and thighs.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is a malignant tumor of the nasal and throat area. Symptoms are the presence of snot mixed with blood, colds, nosebleeds, deafness and viscous saliva.
Read more about Symptoms of cancer in children
How to prevent childhood cancer
Until now, it has not been known exactly the risk factors and causes of cancer in children. However, cancer is thought to be the interaction of 4 factors, namely genetics, chemicals, viruses, and radiation.
Although not all types of cancer in children have methods to be detected early and cancer in children cannot be prevented, it is good for parents to teach educational behavior to children.
Planting educational since childhood is important so that children avoid various types of cancer that arise in adulthood.
- Regular health checks
- Reduce cigarette smoke by avoiding exposure to cigarette smoke
- Diligent physical activity
- Healthy and balanced diet
- Enough rest
- Manage stress