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DT Health: Beware, childhood cancer rates rising

Childhood cancer by itself is rare. However, the incidence has been increasing over the past few decades. Childhood cancers are divided into solid tumours and liquid tumours. Liquid tumours are tumours that arise from components of blood and not from any solid organ. Leukaemia and lymphomas are some examples of it.

DT Health: Beware, childhood cancer rates rising
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Solid tumours occur in organs of our body and bone, muscles and skin. They generally present as swellings or lumps. Of this, brain tumours are commonest in children.

"Children, especially infants, have rapid growth. During rapid growth, if even one cell sustains damage to its genetic makeup it can sometimes lead to uncontrolled growth which may propagate into a tumour. In general, the body's defence mechanisms can nip this in the bud. However, sometimes the abnormal propagation escapes and can grow into a tumour. Most often, these occurrences are random and there is no genetic propensity to this. In a very small minority of patients, there may be a genetic predisposition to cancers. Unlike in the adult population the solid tumours in children are neither due to environmental factors or lifestyle,' said Dr Radhakrishnan Sathee san, Senior Consultant, Paediatric Surgeon, Apollo Proton Cancer Centre.

He added that considerable progress has been made in the treatment of paediatric solid tumours. There still are tumours hard to cure in advanced stages like a stage 4 neuroblastoma or metastatic bone tumour.

Doctors say usually tumours oc cur in the abdomen but sometimes can be in the pelvis or the chest. "The symptoms in different age groups and the complications sur face as the tumour progresses. It is important to look for any lumps, swelling, any persistent abdominal pain, fever accompanied with low appetite," says Dr Mohan Ku mar, a paediatric surgeon at Stan ley Medical College and Hospital.

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