Why do children get cancer?

Leukemia, tumors & Co.

Why do children get cancer?

December 19, 2018 at 5:19 p.m.

If your child is diagnosed with cancer, it is a severe blow to the parents who Family and Friends. But why do children get cancer at all, what are the most common types of cancer in children and what are the latest therapies??

Munich, Germany). Every year, around 250,000 children worldwide develop cancer, compared to around 1,800 in Germany. This means that one in 470 children in Germany will get this terrible diagnosis before the age of 15. Unfortunately, despite the good medical advances and research, the survival chances of the small cancer patients are still not good enough, according to the experts. The international Children’s Cancer Day, which has been taking place on February 15th since 2003, is meant to do just that recall.

How does cancer develop in children?

Many affected parents blame themselves and wonder if they did something wrong. Doctors currently assume that the trigger for cancer in children is genetically determined and that the changes in the cells in question already occur at the embryonic stage. So far, however, there is only evidence and no scientific evidence for this theory. In addition, it is not known which genes play the decisive role in this.

However, external factors rule out medical professionals in most cases (with the exception, for example, of radioactive radiation), since the children have not been born long enough to get cancer from external environmental factors.

Even if it is only a small consolation, it means that according to the current level of knowledge, parents could not have done or failed to do anything that could have caused the cancer in their child.

The signs of cancer in children

Does my child have cancer? Diagnosing cancer in a child is very difficult because the first signs of cancer in children appear rather harmless. A fever, headache, a bruise, pallor or unusually severe fatigue can already be a sign for one Be cancer.

Of course, this does not mean that if a child has a fever or is tired for a long time, it is cancer. However, it should also be clarified by a doctor if the symptoms appear longer than usual and for no apparent reason.

Furthermore, the diagnosis is difficult for doctors, because children can often express themselves poorly or not at all like adults, who, unlike the little ones, can describe their suffering quite precisely.

How can cancer be recognized in children??

As mentioned earlier, the diagnosis is very difficult. Parents are therefore advised to consult a specialist in a child’s haematological or child’s oncology facility if they suspect cancer.

The diagnosis is then made in most cases on the basis of a blood picture examination, in which the values ​​in the large blood picture are checked very precisely and additionally with imaging methods such as CT, MRI, ultrasound or scintigram.

If a tumor is found on the basis of the images taken, a tissue sample is taken in most cases. It is only with the help of this biopsy that doctors can determine exactly what type of tumor it is.

The most common cancers in children

In contrast to adults, the distribution of cancer types in children is somewhat different: 31 percent of the children affected have one of the different types of leukemia, around 24 percent brain tumors and around 14 percent lymphomas. Around seven percent of children with cancer have neuroblastoma and around five percent have nephroblastoma (also known as Wilms-Timor).

This percentage distribution is not only so in Germany, but is more or less reflected in roughly these proportions in other EU and US countries.

Should I tell my child that he has cancer?

When parents have received their own child’s cancer diagnosis, this is a huge shock. After the question of the treatment options, however, the question quickly arises whether the child should be told the truth about the disease. Experts from the Initiative for Children with Cancer Munich e.V. advise that even a small child can be told the truth and explain the disease in accordance with their age.

If one did not do this, the child with cancer could see this as a great breach of trust. Nevertheless, it is advisable to consult psychologists or other specialist staff of the respective clinic. However, telling the child the truth does not mean that you cannot give him courage and confidence at the same time.

Treat cancer in children

In addition to the common methods of cancer therapy such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, there are no significant differences in the treatment of cancer in children compared to cancer treatments in adults.

Sometimes there are highly qualified medical researchers who are looking for volunteers for clinical studies of new treatment approaches or medications. Sometimes this is also an attempt to defeat cancer.


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Christina Cherry
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