WHAT IS CANCER

The Worldwide Health Organization defines cancer as a process in which cells grow and spread uncontrollably. Cancer can appear practically anywhere in the body. A tumor usually invades the surrounding tissue and can cause metastasis in other areas in the body.

A large percentage of cancers can be cured through surgery, radioterapy, or chemotherapy, especially in children, if it is detected early enough. source

WARNING SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

The Warning Signs and Symptoms Campaign was created through the efforts of these international organizations: the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP), the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), and Childhood Cancer International (CCI).

01

Paleness, bruising, bleeding, or bone pain.

02

Swelling – especially if there is no pain, fever, or other signs of infection.

05

Inexplicable weight los sor fever, persistent cough or difficulty breathing, night sweats.

04

Eye changes – white pupil, strabismus cross-eyed), loss of vision, bruising or swelling around the eye(s).

05

Swelling in the abdominal area.

06

Severe or unusually persistent headaches, vomiting (in the morning or gets worse as time passes)

07

Pain in the extremities or bones, swelling with no signs of infection or trauma.

08

Fatigue, lethargy, and changes in behavior, such as becoming withdrawn.

09

Dizziness, imbalance, loss of coordination.

TYPES OF CHILDHOOD CANCER

Source: Childhood Cancer International

CHILDHOOD LEUKEMIA

Cancer that affects bone marrow and body tissue that make blood cells. With leukemia, the body makes an abnormal amount of white blood cells that don’t perform their proper functions. On the contrary, these abnormal cells invade the bone marrow and destroy healthy blood cells, making it so the patient suffer from anemia, infection, or generalized bruising. The most common form of Leukemia in children is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Treatment for this has become more advanced and currently cures around 7 out of every 10 children with the disease.

TUMORS IN THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM

Brain tumors and spinal bone marrow tumors are the most common in children. Some are benign and can be cured through surgery. However, with malign tumors, given how difficult they are to diagnose and treat, a simple cure has not yet been found as it has been for other kinds of childhood cancer. In general, treatment includes surgery plus other therapy, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

BONE TUMORS

The bones can be another place where tumors are spread, but but some kinds of cancer originate in the skeleton. The most frequent is the Osteosarcoma. This pediatric cancer of the bones often occurs at the peak of adolescent development and 85% of adolescents who suffer from it get it in their arms or legs (half of them around the knee). Another kind of bone tumor is Ewing Sarcoma. Unlike the previous, this kind is mostly found in the ribs, From 1950 to 1980, great advancements in treatment were made, reaching a 50% decrease in deaths caused by the tumor.

LYMPHOMA

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that occurs in the lymphatic system, the part of the body that cleans out impurities. There are two kinds of lymphoma: Hodgkin’s and No-Hodgkin. The latter is the most common in children. It appears in the thymus, small intestine, or in the lymph nodes found throughout the body. It can spread to the nervous system or bone marrow. It has a high survival rate.

NEUROBLASTOMA

This is a type of cancer only found in small children. One-fourth of those affected show symptoms within the first year. Neuroblastoma spreads quickly and is generally diagnosed once this happens. Early stages are curable through surgery and new, more effective treatments are being developed for its advanced stages.

RHABDOMYOSARCOMA

This is the most frequent soft palate cancer found in children. This extremely malignant neoplasia originates in the musculoskeletal tissue. Despite the fact that it can appear in any part of this tissue, it is generally found in the head and neck, the urinary tract, or the extremities. Even though rhabdomyosarcoma spreads quickly, its symptoms are way more evident than other cancers. It’s general prognosis has gotten better since more advances in chemotherapy.

Tumor de Wilms Infantil

This is a tumor that develops rapidly in the kidneys and appears more frequently in children ages 2-4. The Wilms tumor in children acts differently than in adult kidneys. In children, it causes metastasis in the lungs. In the past, there used to be a high mortality rate with this tumor. Now, with surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, there have been advancements in controlling it.

RETINOBLASTOMA

This is an ocular tumor that appears in early infancy and is most often hereditary. It happens more in Latin America than in other parts of the world. It has a very good prognosis (95%) even though sometimes vision is compromised. Once in a while, surgery and other additional treatments are required.

Advice for patients receiving chemotherapy

In this section we replicated some suggestions for chemotherapy patients from the National Cancer Institute of the United States.

These helpful tips and practices are to help control the eighteen (18) different side effects of chemotherapy in order to alleviate discomfort during treatment.

  • Anemia (PDF)
  • Throat and mouth (PDF)
  • Hair loss (PDF)
  • Memory loss (PDF)
  • Changes in nerves (PDF)
  • Changes in sexuality and fertility in males (PDF)
  • Changes in sexuality and fertility in females (PDF)
  • Fatigue and weakness (PDF)
  • Diarrhea (PDF)
  • Pain (PDF)
  • Constipation (PDF)
  • Appetite loss (PDF)
  • Bloating and liquid retention (PDF)
  • Infections (PDF)
  • Nausea and vomiting (PDF)
  • Changes in bladder function (PDF)
  • The skin and nails (PDF)
  • Bleeding (PDF)

Advice for patients receiving Radiotherapy

In this section, you can find helpful tips and practices from the National Cancer Institute of the United States, to help control the nine (9) different side effects of radiotherapy in order to alleviate discomfort during treatment.

  • Tips for when they have diarrhea (PDF)
  • Tips for when they have weakness or fatigue (PDF)
  • Tips about hair loss (PDF)
  • Tips for when their mouth or throat hurts (PDF)
  • Tips for when there is nausea and vomiting (PDF)
  • Tips for when there are changes in sexuality and fertility in males (PDF)
  • Tips for when there are changes in sexuality and fertility in females (PDF)
  • Tips for when there are small changes on skin (PDF)
  • Tips regarding changes in bladder function (PDF)