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Recognizing Symptoms of Childhood Cancers

September 23, 2022 Pegalis Law Group

Recognizing Symptoms of Childhood Cancers to Save Lives

Every three minutes, a family receives the devastating news that their child has been diagnosed with cancer. With nearly 16,000 American children diagnosed with cancer every year, cancer remains one of the leading causes of death among children in the United States. Globally, approximately 300,000 children are diagnosed with cancer per year. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a time when worldwide organizations spread awareness and raise funds for childhood cancer patients and their families. Below, Pegalis Law Group, LLC sheds light on recognizing symptoms of childhood cancers to help create proactive parents and save more lives.

What Are the Most Common Types of Childhood Cancer?

Although the statistics concerning pediatric cancers may seem staggering, the reality is they’re rare. About one out of every 285 children is diagnosed with cancer before age 20. Cancers in adolescents and young adults ages 15-39 occur more often than childhood cancers. The most common cancers affecting children and adolescents include leukemias, lymphomas, thyroid cancer, brain and central nervous system tumors, kidney tumors, neuroblastoma, malignant bone tumors, and gonadal (testicular and ovarian) germ cell tumors. Leukemias are cancers affecting blood or bone marrow cells, while lymphomas affect the body’s lymph nodes and glands. Neuroblastoma is caused by the abnormal growth of nerve cells in the adrenal gland or the spine tissue near the neck, chest, or abdomen.

What Are Possible Causes of Childhood Cancers?

Like cancer in adults, the cause of many childhood cancers remains largely unknown. Most childhood cancers do not seem to be preventable or contagious. Some childhood cancers are linked to Down syndrome and other genetic mutations. Overexposure to radiation and other environmental chemicals may increase pediatric cancer risk factors, although more research is required. The family of a child diagnosed with cancer may also be at an increased risk if an inherited genetic disorder caused it.

Parents, Keep an Eye on These Pediatric Cancer Symptoms

Because early detection often saves lives, parents must watch for these symptoms of childhood cancer and be prepared to discuss them with their child’s doctor:

  • An unusual mass or swelling
  • Tendency to bruise or bleed easily
  • Lasting body aches in bones, joints, back, or legs
  • Frequent infections or worsening rashes
  • Loss of energy and noticeable paleness
  • Unexplained fever
  • Frequent headaches or nausea
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Unusual behavior or movement

How Do Survival Rates Look for Childhood Cancer Patients?

Thanks to earlier detection, clinical trials, and advanced treatments at modern children’s cancer centers, survival rates for childhood cancer patients have significantly improved within the past 50 years. The five-year survival rate among children diagnosed with many cancers, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is now over 90%. While leukemia used to be the leading cause of pediatric cancer death in the United States, brain and nervous system cancers have become the chief cause of concern in recent years. Due to the risk of complications related to cancer, childhood cancer survivors may require follow-up care and careful monitoring for the rest of their lives.

Dedicated to Creating Proactive Patients for Nearly 50 Years

As a personal injury and medical malpractice law firm based in New York for nearly 50 years, Pegalis Law Group, LLC is dedicated to creating public awareness and proactive patients. Please visit our website and follow us on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to receive additional insights to remain proactive about your family’s healthcare.