February 4, 2019
By: PathSOS Team

Cancer in children

Young children have a certain kind of energy that is contagious. They laugh, and play; they cause mischief; they are the greatest and utmost joy to their families and everyone around them. As undeserving as it sounds, some of these kids, fall victim to one of the world’s deadliest diseases - cancer. Although the number of children developing cancer in their childhood is very low, the ones who do end up getting affected by it can find a cure but only with early diagnosis, proper care, and treatment. If we were to create a chart stating the highest number of cancer patients, 95% of the population would be stated as adults. Still, 5 % of children make up the rarest cases in pediatric cancer.

To understand what cancer does to children we must understand what cancer really is. The human body has cells multiplying and dying every minute, every second of its life. Even as you read this, tens of thousands of cells are being created and destroyed simultaneously, complete their tasks and fall off as dead cells. As we know, everything in the known universe has a limit and that limit is not to be tampered with. So that right there is the normal cycle of cell birth and death. When factors like lifestyle changes and genetic mutation come to play, cell multiplication goes haywire and cells start to multiply like crazy and they don’t die as soon as they are created like all the other good cells. They keep multiplying to the extent of growing into a lump or two or even worse spreads to other parts of the body and hinders the bodily functions based on the location where the cancerous cells are spread out and proliferate.

The most gruesome fact about the life of a cancer patient and especially, a child struck with cancer is the emotional and physical pain he/she has to go through with chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy and the emotional toll the cancer cycle takes on children and their families. Cancer in children is not the same as cancer in adults. Since the body of a child is at a stage of its fastest growth and is in a period of high metabolism, it is fairly hard for prognosis and diagnosis that vary drastically from the ones that are used to treat adults.  At an age as young as theirs, with sensitive bodies, the process of getting cured is a road filled with pain, constant hospital visits, side effects and a loss in their happy childhood.

Lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, pollution all add up to the diagnosis of cancer. Genetic reasons are not very common but when cancer strikes because of hereditary or problems from the genetic make-up of the body of the child, it’s a tiring fight between their time and health. GMO( genetically modified foods) are known to create problems such as cancer and have been a subject of heated debate in recent years. Since most of the children these days get their hands on tasty foods that are inadvertently unhealthy and cause cancer as well as other diseases, it is up to their parents to decide what goes on your kids’ plate.

The good news is the overall survival rate for children’s cancer has increased by 80% over the last 40 years due to awareness, advancements in medicine and technology that aid it. With young and tender bodies, children are susceptible to falling sick often and the symptoms related to cancer like bruises, rashes, headaches, swellings, constant infections, and unexplained weight loss must not be seen lightly and immediate action should be taken for early detection. As the proverb often says, prevention is better than cure.