Blood cancer most common among children: Experts
The threat of cancer is rising globally among children too, experts said on Childhood Cancer Awareness Day, observed on February 15, to spread awareness around different kinds of childhood cancers.
New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) The threat of cancer is rising globally among children too, experts said on Childhood Cancer Awareness Day, observed on February 15, to spread awareness around different kinds of childhood cancers.
Blood cancer is the most cancer among children of 1 to 10 years, experts say. Cancers in the paediatric age group contribute around 5 per cent of total cancer burden of India.
Talking to IANS, Dr Vishwanath, paediatrician of the RML's Haemato-Oncology Department, said that most common cancer among children is blood cancer which needs early intervention and treatment. In India, most of the cases go unreported in children and is not diagnosed on the time due to the lack of awareness which is a major concern, he added.
"After this, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is the most common childhood cancer which occurs when a bone marrow cell develops errors in its DNA. Thirdly, lymphoma cancer is also common among children that begins in infection-fighting cells of the immune system," he said.
About the common symptoms of cancer in children, Dr Rakesh, Paediatrician at Lady Hardinge Medical College, said that prolonged fever of over one month and pain in bones and common viral illnesses are the common symptoms. "If children are losing weight continuously, it is also a symptom of cancer as well as bleeding resulting into the lower platelets are some symptoms which needs early detection and treatment."
Most of the childhood cancers have a male preponderance. Cancer forms the 9th most common cause of mortality among children between 5 to 14 years of age in India.
"There are more than 10 types of cancers which can be seen in children. Some of the common childhood cancers are acute leukemia, brain tumour, lymphoma, neuroblastoma, Wilm's tumour, retinoblastoma and soft tissue sarcomas. Among these, the most common paediatric cancer is acute leukemia (blood cancer) which constitutes more than one third of all pediatric malignancies," said Dr Vikas Dua, Director, Paediatric Haematology & Oncology, Fortis Hospital, Gurugram.
He said that some symptoms which warrant urgent referral of the child to a paediatric haemato-oncologist are low hemoglobin, low or high white blood cell count and low platelet count since these findings are not always explained by nutritional factors and infections.