Every case of cancer is a tragic story of life thrown into turmoil, but childhood cancer is always especially heartbreaking. The reality is that cancer remains a leading cause of childhood death, with over 400,000 children a year aged between 0 and 19 years of age diagnosed with the disease around the world.
The most common forms of childhood cancer include leukemia of various types, brain cancers and lymphomas, however as with other forms of the disease in all age groups, prognosis for the diagnosed is improving. In the United States, around 80% of childhood cancer patients survive, although globally that level is much lower, with many countries without a well-developed healthcare infrastructure suffering as low as 15% survivability.
One of the key challenges with childhood cancer is early and accurate diagnosis, this allows time to initiate appropriate and effective treatment that can result in remission and ultimately the elimination of the disease completely. However, especially with younger children cancer diagnosis is not straightforward, and can often be hidden behind other issues or misdiagnosed as other health problems.
Although there are many types of childhood cancer, it has been associated with a range of warning symptoms that can help medical professionals to identify potential childhood cancer sufferers early, and both health bodies and parent groups are working together to promote awareness of these parSeptticular issues that if seen within children either all or several symptoms together, may indicate an issue. This initiative used the Mnemonic device that spells out CHILD CANCER to remind us of the symptoms to be on the lookout for.
These symptoms are:
- Continued, unexplained weight loss
- Headaches, often with early-morning vomiting
- Increased swelling or persistent pain in bones, joints, back, or legs
- Lump or mass, especially in the abdomen, neck, chest, pelvis, or armpits
- Development of excessive bruising, bleeding, or rash
- Constant infections
- A whitish color behind the pupil
- Nausea that persists or vomiting without nausea
- Constant tiredness or noticeable paleness
- Eye or vision changes that occur suddenly and persist
- Recurrent or persistent fevers of unknown origin
By looking out for Child Cancer and the symptoms that it represents, early diagnosis is possible, and with it a dramatically improved chance of survival for any child.