Childhood cancers are more susceptible to treatment than adult cancer 

Four lakh children are reported with cancer all over the world. Of these, around 50,000 cases are of India. With the increasing number of cases of cancer, the survival rate in developing and underdeveloped countries is falling. WHO had announced a global initiative for childhood cancer. 

Manas Kalra, the senior oncologist at Delhi’s Ganga Ram Hospital showed his concern for such a condition and spoke to Amit Anand Choudhary for the safeguard measures that need to be taken.  

 

How childhood cancer is different from adult cancer?

Childhood cancers are more manageable and have a high rate of cure than adult cancers. However, the types of cancer are also different between children and adults. When children suffer from blood cancer, brain tumors, lymphomas adults suffer from solid tumors such as the stomach, lungs, prostate, and intestine cancer. 

Children recover from chemotherapy more easily than adults. As they don’t worry about the outcome, appearance, and future. Also, children acquire fewer side effects from the treatment. 

 

What are the reasons behind cancer at an early age?

Nonetheless, there is no exact point of the cause of such issues, only a little is known about the cause and prevention too. With continuous efforts and research, we are gaining proficiency in the treatment but still a need to understand the cause and prevention. 

The known fact is that cancer is caused due to some genetic mutations. The cells in our body have their own mechanism to repair. When the natural mechanism is disturbed, it leads to uncontrollable growth of the cells.

 

How to know if a child may have cancer?

The cancer spreads like wildfire in children and reaches its stage within a few weeks. So, what are the symptoms that are an indication for such disease? Well, if the child is having fever for 1-2 weeks continuously and all the illnesses reports come out to be negative. These children are often treated for TB without any appropriate evidence. Other symptoms include bone pain and lumps felt anywhere in the body like on the neck or bones. Generally, the lumps feel painless and keep growing in size. In some children, it is often associated with paleness in the skin, back pain, vigorous weight loss, the protrusion in the eyes. While brain tumors are associated with severe headache, vomiting, or imbalance of the body.

 

What is the probability of the recovery of children? 

Around 20 years ago, if any person is diagnosed with cancer, then it was considered to be a death sentence. And not more than 20% of children survived through cancer. The commonest cancer of the blood, acute lymphoblastic leukemia can be treatable in 80% of the cases with modern chemotherapy which has a duration of 2-2.5 years. The time stretches from 4 months to 2 years depending on the type of cancer.

With modern technologies such as radiation therapy and immunotherapy, the late effects after treatment can be minimized and the child will gain normal life again. 

Somehow the willing power works too. If someone has the courage to bounce back, he will get well.  

 

Is there any financial assistance for treatment?

The expenses of drugs, chemotherapy are quite high undoubtedly, but there is enough financial assistance for the treatment. The Government provides funding facilities from PM and CM as relief funds for the children struggling with cancer. And also, certain NGOs are there to provide financial aid. 

   

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