Childhood cancer: 3 most common types


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September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, which makes it a good time to learn about three of the most common types of cancer in children: acute lymphoid leukemia, neuroblastoma, and pediatric brain tumors.

Acute lymphoid leukemia

Acute lymphoid leukemia is cancer of the blood and bone marrow. It is the most common type of cancer in children, and treatments offer a good chance of a cure. Acute lymphoid leukemia can also occur in adults, although the chances of recovery are greatly reduced.

The signs and symptoms of acute lymphoid leukemia may include bleeding gums; bone pain; fever; pale skin; shortness of breath; and swollen lymph nodes in and around the neck, armpits, abdomen, or groin.

Treatment for acute lymphoid leukemia includes chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy, and bone marrow transplantation. There is also a specialized treatment called chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy which takes the germ-fighting T cells in your body, makes them to fight cancer, and injects them back into your body.


Neuroblastoma is cancer that develops from immature nerve cells that are found in many areas of the body. It most commonly affects children 5 years of age or younger, although it may rarely occur in older children.

The signs and symptoms of neuroblastoma vary depending on the part of the body affected. Neuroblastoma of the abdomen, the most common form, can cause abdominal pain; a lump under the skin that is not tender to touch; and changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation. Neuroblastoma in the chest can cause wheezing; chest pain; and eye changes, including droopy eyelids and uneven pupil size. Other signs and symptoms that may indicate neuroblastoma include back pain, fever, unexplained weight loss, and bone pain.

The treatment plan for neuroblastoma is based on several factors that affect the child’s prognosis, including the child’s age, stage of the cancer, the types of cells involved in the cancer, and whether there are any abnormalities in the child. chromosomes and genes. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, bone marrow transplant, and immunotherapy.

Pediatric brain tumors

There are many types of pediatric brain tumors. Some are non-cancerous or benign, and others are cancerous or malignant.

The signs and symptoms of a brain tumor in children vary widely depending on the type, size, location, and rate of growth of the brain tumor. Some signs and symptoms may not be easy to spot because they are similar to symptoms of other conditions. Some of the more common symptoms of a brain tumor in children include headaches, which can become more frequent and more severe; feeling of increased pressure in the head; unexplained nausea or vomiting; and the sudden onset of vision problems, such as double vision.

Treatment for a pediatric brain tumor depends on the type of tumor, where it is in the brain, how it has spread, and the child’s age and general health. As new treatments and technologies are continually being developed, several options may be available at different stages of treatment. And the treatment of brain tumors in children is usually quite different from the treatment of brain tumors in adults, so it is important to call on the expertise and experience of pediatric specialists in neurology and oncology. Treatment may include surgery, traditional radiation therapy, proton beam therapy, radiosurgery, chemotherapy, and targeted drug therapy.

What do you know about leukemia and lymphoma?

© 2021 Mayo Clinic News Network.
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