Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer, and can then spread to other areas of the body. This is true for both childhood cancers and adult cancers. Talking about childhood cancers, there are differences in the types of cancers that children tend to get, as well as how they are treated. However, the chance of recovery is high in children. Most children with cancer can be cured.

8 things you should know about childhood cancers

1. Childhood cancers are not strongly or completely linked to lifestyle or environmental risk factors. Only a small number of childhood cancers are caused by DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) changes that are passed from the parents to their child. The cause of most childhood cancers is not known.

2. Childhood cancers respond better to certain treatments. Childhood cancers are different and children often get more intense treatments. Most children do not have health problems like hypertension, diabetes, and heart diseases, which are commonly seen in adults suffering from cancer.

3. Long-term side effects are usually a concern because children’s bodies are still developing and growing, and they’re more likely to have side effects from some types of treatment. For example, children (especially very young ones) are more likely to be affected by radiation therapy.

4. Children or teens with cancer are treated at pediatric cancer centers. These centers offer the advantage of being treated by a team of specialists who know the differences between adult and childhood cancers, as well as the unique needs of children and teens with cancer and their families.

5. Childhood cancers affect every family member and nearly every aspect of the family’s life. Not only the affected children but their families also need psychologists, social workers, child life specialists, nutritionists, rehabilitation and physical therapists, and educators who can support and educate the entire family.

6. The most common cancer in children affects blood cells. It is called ALL (Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia). Cancer in children can also affect their lymph system, brain, liver, and bones. 

7. In many cases, the cancer cells in children respond better to treatments compared to adults. Children can often handle higher doses of chemo drugs for shorter periods before the side effects set in.

8. Cancer treatments may also delay growth in children, or cause another cancer to form later on. Sometimes these changes and developments are noticed, weeks or several years after treatment.

Remember we all can join hands to spread awareness about childhood cancer and help children and families detect them at the earliest.