Alphabetic Guide to Child Care - Cancer


Rare as it may be and affecting only one child in about 7,000 each year, cancer still claims the lives of more children between the ages of one and fourteen than any other single disease. Among the cancers that more commonly affect children in their early years are the following: acute lymphocytic leukemia , in which white blood cells proliferate in the bone marrow in such great quantities that they disrupt normal blood production; neuroblastoma , which may occur in any part of the body but characteristically involves a tumorous growth in the sympathetic nerve tissues of the adrenal glands; brain or spinal cord tumor; Hodgkin's disease , or cancer of the lymph nodes; Wilms’ tumor , a rare kidney cancer that accounts for about one-fifth of all childhood cancers; retinoblastoma , an eye tumor that is probably hereditary and is most frequently encountered in children under four; and bone cancer that may attack the long bones of the forearm and leg during the growing years. Many of these cancers can now be arrested, and some can be cured if symptoms are detected early enough. See Ch. 18, Cancer , for further information about cancer.

Early Symptoms

Early detection is best accomplished by calling to a physician's attention any of these symptoms that last for more than a few days: continued crying or pain for which there appears to be no explanation; intermittent nausea and vomiting; the development of lumps or swellings in or on any part of the child's body; stumbling or walking unsteadily; a loss of appetite and general lassitude; any marked change in bowel or bladder habits; any unexplained discharge of blood, whether in the stool or urine, or in heavy nosebleeds, or any marked slowness of bleeding to stop after an injury.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: