Cancer and Combating Brain Cancer in Children

Cancer in children is the most stressful fear for any parents.

Medical researchers are trying their best to be able to resolve this horrible cancer in children.

It’s been many improvements in medical technology but still not completely satisfy yet.

Brain Cancer in Children

If a tumor starts in the brain it is known as a primary brain cancer as opposed to secondary brain cancer, which is a result of tumors from other parts of the body spreading to the brain.

In children primary brain cancer occurs when the cancer develops in the tissues of the brain.

The tumor could be located in only a small area  or have spread to other areas. It might be benign or malignant.

Physicians have not yet determined what causes brain cancer in children and what the risk factors could be.

However, if a child’s head has been exposed to radiation in any form, especially when treating other types of cancer, then her risk of developing brain cancer is high.

Risk Factors of Brain Cancer in Children

If there is a family history of brain cancer and the mutated gene passes onto a child then the risk factor exists.

A lack of specific factors means there is actually no way to prevent a child from developing brain cancer.

Symptoms of Brain Cancer in Children

There are some symptoms that you need to look out for that may lead you to suspect brain cancer.

If a child has frequent headaches, suffers from an acute loss of memory, and is unable to concentrate;

Moreover, if her speech slurs or there are changes in vision and hearing; if she has suddenly uncoordinated movements and is unable to walk or balance steadily; if she has seizures or nausea: all these can indicate brain cancer.

In addition, if she feels either a numb feeling or a tingling in her limbs or exhibits personality changes then you must take her to a physician. Fever and weakness may also be present.

These are all symptoms that you have to be on the lookout for as very young children will not be able to describe them in detail.

Babies may not grow properly and may always be weak. You will need to observe them and take the necessary steps brain cancer could be indicated but there could also be some other disease present.

Diagnose and Treatments for Cancer in Children

Pediatrician or pediatric oncologist will perform a physical examination of the child and then, based on the symptoms, recommend a CT scan, an MRI, an angiogram, or a spinal tap.

Child may also suggest a biopsy, but this depends on the location of the tumor. If he does diagnose brain cancer then the standard treatments will apply, that is, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

He will take into account the child’s age and general health before suggesting one of the treatments. Surgery is essential for primary brain tumors and the entire tumor may be removed. However, if the tumor is deep inside the brain the surgeon will debulk or reduce its size to the extent possible.

Be aware of the symptoms, and take immediate steps if you have even an inkling that your child is suffering from them. Take her to a physician at once so treatment can start sooner than later.

Wilms Tumor Hits Children Below Three – Symptoms and Treatments

Wilms Tumor is a type of cancer that affects mostly children and rarely young adults.

When cancer cells develop in one or both kidneys, Chances of being affected with Wilms Tumor increase.

This type of tumor can spread to Lungs, Lever and Lymph Nodes.

Having certain specific genetic syndromes, disorders or birth defects can add to the risk factor of developing Wilms’ tumor. Wilms Tumor also called nephroblastoma.

At What Age Wilms Tumor Cancer in Children Occurs

Mostly this type of kidney Cancer affects children below three on an average, but cases have also been reported in babies younger than six months and adults in their early twenties also. Females are very slightly more likely to develop Wilms cancer than males.

The following types genetic syndromes and birth defects have a direct relationship with occurrence of Wilms’ tumor; Wilms’ tumor, mental retardation, aniridia and ambiguous genitalia;

Beckwith-Weidmann syndrome

A defect where babies may develop low blood sugar.

More symptoms include among other things, a large tongue and internal organs and defects in the abdominal wall near the naval; Hemi hypertrophy;

Denys-Drash Syndrome

Most likely symptoms are kidney failure before the child is 3 years old, abnormal growth of sexual organs.

Children who develop this syndrome are likely to be affected from more types of cancer besides Wilms Tumor. Meaning Denys-Drash syndrome is a potential risk factor;

Cryptorchidism

Under this condition one or both the testicles are unable to move from the abdomen into the scrotum. Abdomen is where they have developed before birth; and the last syndrome is Hypospadias.

Children who show any of the above syndromes in their early childhood should be taken for screening on a regular basis until they reach the age of eight. They may have to undergo ultra sound for screening the possibilities.

Possible signs, that family or relatives notice in kids are lumps, pain, swelling in the abdomen, blood in the urine and persistent fever for no reason.

Surgery for Wilms Tumor Cancer in Children

In most cases Wilms Tumor can be removed with the help of surgery. The treatment depends upon various factors like, stage or cancer, age of the child, type and size of cancer, is there a chance of it being removed by surgery completely, whether there are some abnormal genes involved, is it a first time diagnoses or has it relapsed.

Four standard treatment options for Wilms tumor cancer in children are:
  • Surgery
  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • and Biologic Therapy.

There are no known ways yet to prevent Wilms’ tumor before signs start to occur, it is important that children with congenital conditions associated with Wilms’ tumor be carefully monitored and well looked after.

Important Points to Keep in Mind About Brain Tumors Among Children

Primary brain tumors are a diverse group of diseases that constitute the most common tumor of childhood.

They can be benign or malignant.

Brain tumors have been divided and classified according to their individual histology.

IT may however be kept in mind that location of tumor and the extent to which it has spread are important factors which can and does impact and affect treatment and recovery.

Immunohistochemical analyses, cytogenetic and molecular genetic findings, measures of mitotic activity are being used in diagnosing and classifying brain tumor among children.

It is observed that approximately 50% of brain tumors among children are infratentorial.

75% of them located in the cerebellum or fourth ventricle.

Treatment of Brain Cancer In Children

Special care should be taken for children who suffer from Brain tumors.

Like one should understand that therapy or treatment for such children and more importantly their recovery will depend upon how accurate and exact the diagnoses is.

The stage of cancer, the size, and the extent to which it has spread – everything has an important role to play. Unless all these have been diagnosed clearly and correctly by an expert the treatment will not help.

Children who have been diagnosed with primary brain tumors come with a big therapy challenge ahead.

And for best possible results what is required is:

  • coordinated efforts of pediatric specialists in fields like neurosurgery
  • rehabilitation
  • neuropathology
  • radiation oncology
  • pediatric oncology
  • neuro-oncology
  • neuroradiology
  • endocrinology
  • and psychology

Their special expertise has an important role to play in the treatment.

Survivor Rate Of Children With Brain Cancer

Only half of the children diagnosed with brain tumors are likely to survive 5 years from diagnosis.

survivor rate cancer in children

IN some children higher possibility of survival and cure is also possible.

The reason for brain tumor in children remains unknown and needless to say numerous researches in the area are underway.

Guidelines for pediatric cancer centers and their role in the treatment of these pediatric patients (children in this case) with cancer have been outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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