April has been declared by the Department of Health as Cancer in Children Awareness Month to create public awareness on pediatric cancer.
Cancer is a very rare disease in children. Its cause is unknown so most of the time the cancer is already in its advanced stage by the time it is diagnosed. Childhood cancer affects children from birth to 19 years old.
The various types of pediatric cancer include acute lymphocytic leukemia, bone cancer, brain and spinal cord cancer, Erwing’s sarcoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, neuroblastoma, osteoracoma, retinoblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, and Wilm’s tumor.
The most common symptoms of pediatric cancer are dizziness; vomiting; unexplained fever or recurring fever; unexplained weight loss; frequent headaches; fatigue; paleness; sudden eye or vision changes; excessive bruising or bleeding; swelling or pain in the joints, bones, pelvis, back or legs; lump in the armpit, leg, chest, stomach or pelvis; and recurring or persistent infections.
In the Philippines, the most common pediatric cancer is acute lymphoblastic leukemia which is generally thought to start in the bone marrow, but leukemic blasts may be systematically present at the time of presentation. They may be present in the bone marrow, thymus, liver, spleen, lymph nodes, and testes. The classic symptoms of this illness are fatigue and paleness, fever, and bruising or bleeding.
To avoid all these problems, it is important that children undergo annual check ups and maintain good health by eating healthy and well-balanced diet and exercise.