Help for kids with Childhood Cancer

Childhood Cancer

symptoms of childhood cancer

Symptoms to look for in Pediatric Cancers

As children grow they come across many similar symptoms as part of the growing process.  It becomes difficult to recognize because they are seen as common illnesses and injuries. Children often get bumps and bruises but parents tend to ignore because children jump and play as a daily routine.  Children and adolescents do not get regular check sup as adults do Therefore, Parents should ensure that your kids get regular medical checkups and seek attention for a symptom that doesn’t go away, such as:

  • Sudden unexplained weight loss
  • Easy bruising
  • Ongoing pain in one area
  • Limping
  • Sudden eye or vision changes
  • Unexplained fever or illness that doesn’t go away
  • An unusual lump or swelling
  • Frequent headaches, often with vomiting
  • Unexplained paleness or lack of energy


Cancer Facts

  • Childhood cancer research is vastly and consistently underfunded.
  • Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the U.S.
  • One in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer by the time they are 20 years old.
  • Every year, an estimated 250,000+ new cases of cancer affect children under the age of 20 worldwide.
  • Two-thirds of childhood cancer patients will have long lasting chronic conditions from treatment.
  • Childhood cancer occurs regularly, randomly and spares no ethnic group; socioeconomic class; or geographic region. In the United States, the incidence of cancer among adolescents and young adults is increasing at a greater rate than any other age group, except those over 65 years.
  • Childhood cancer is not just one disease. It is made up of a dozen types and countless subtypes.

Childhood cancer

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Types of Childhood Cancers

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of childhood cancer. It is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Normally the bone marrow makes stem cells that mature into blood cells over time. In ALL, too many stem cells turn into immature white blood cells (lymphoblasts) that don't mature into the normal blood cells (lymphocytes) that fight infection by attacking germs and other harmful bacteria.

Central Nervous System (CNS)

Central nervous system (CNS) tumors are cancers of the brain and brain stem. They are the most common solid tumors of childhood and they have the highest mortality rate of the childhood cancers. Types include medulloblastoma, PNET, germ cell tumors, low-grade and high-grade gliomas, ependymoma, astrocytoma and more.

Ewing Sarcoma

Ewing sarcoma is a less common form of bone tumor, affecting mostly children ages 5 and older. These tumors form in the cavity of the bone.

Hodgkin Lymphoma

Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph nodes. It affects teens most commonly, but also younger children. The lymph system is present throughout the body and helps fight infections. Hodgkin lymphoma can start almost anywhere and then spread to almost any organ or tissue, including the liver, bone marrow and spleen.

Myeloid Leukemia

Myeloid leukemias are more rare and difficult to cure than the more common Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). In leukemia, the bone marrow produces large numbers of abnormal blood cells, which flood the bloodstream and lymph system and may invade vital organs. The most common cancer of the myeloid cells is acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Others include juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML), chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).


Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the sympathetic nervous system, a message network between the brain and other parts of the body. Neuroblastoma tumors can grow in the abdomen, neck or pelvis. It is the most common type of cancer in infants, and can form before birth. The average age of diagnosis is 2, and it is rare in children over 10.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) are cancers of the cells of the immune system (T and B lymphocytes, natural killer cells). Cells of the immune system are produced in the bone marrow and then travel to all the lymph glands, the thymus gland, areas of the intestinal tract, tonsils and spleen, so a lymphoma can develop in any of those sites. The four major subtypes of NHL in children are lymphoblastic, Burkitt, large B cell and anaplastic large cell.

Osteogenic Sarcoma (Osteosarcoma)

Osteogenic sarcoma (osteosarcoma) is the most frequently diagnosed type of bone tumor, usually found in adolescents and young adults. Tumors are most often in the large bones of the upper arm (humerus) and the leg (femur and tibia).


Retinoblastoma is a cancer of the retinoblasts, or "baby" cells in the retina, responsible for vision. Retinoblastoma occurs most often in children from birth to age 3. About 40% of these children have the genetic form of the disease; with every cell in the retina susceptible to tumor formation, usually both eyes are affected. The other 60% have the non-genetic type, affecting only one eye. Since removal of the eye can cure most children, research is now focused on preserving vision.


Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common of the soft tissue sarcomas which can be found anywhere in the body. Rhabdomyosarcoma is a tumor that arises in the muscle cells, and is the most common type in children under age 10. The other soft tissue tumors are more rare and tend to be found in adolescents. They include fibrosarcomas, synovial sarcomas, malignantperipheral nerve tumors, leiomyosarcoma, liposarcoma and others even more rare. Some soft tissue tumors are similar to those found in adults, while others are very unique to children.

Wilms Tumor

Wilms tumor accounts for about 90% of kidney tumors in children. About 95% of children with this tumor have a "favorable histology" (better cure rate with less treatment) as determined by the pattern the pathologist sees in the tumor cells. The other 5% have anaplastic Wilms tumor, which is much more resistant to treatment.


Other rare childhood cancers are actually not so rare, when added together, as they account for about 30% of cancers diagnosed in children and adolescents. Because so few children are diagnosed with each type, however, it is very difficult to do research on these cancers. They include clear cell sarcoma of the kidney, rhabdoid tumor of the kidney, germ cell tumors, liver tumors (hepatoblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma), adrenocortoco carcinoma, colon cancer, melanoma, nasalpharangyal cancer, thyroid tumors and others.