Save your child from paediatric cancer: Know what to look out for – TheHealthSite

Posted: October 19, 2019 at 9:49 am

Neuroblastoma is a paediatric cancer of the nerve tissues. It usually affects infant and children below the age of 5. Though it usually happens in and around the adrenal glands, it can also occur in other parts of the abdomen, chest, neck, pelvis, bones and also near the spine. In very rare cases, it can affect older children too. If your child complains of pain in the bones and has recurring fever, consult a doctor. Early detection and treatment can make the difference between life and death. This paediatric cancer can also strike older children and adolescents in very rare cases.

Now researchers at The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine have identified a targetted therapy for adolescent patients with neuroblastoma. The study is published in Cancer Cell. It has a very poor prognosis in older children mainly because of lack of effective targeted therapies.

New therapy for neuroblastoma identified by Mount Sinai Hospital researchers.

Researchers found that neuroblastoma in older children and adolescents harbouring deletions within a gene called ATRX may be responsive to a targeted therapy called tazemetostat. According to them, this therapy disables an enzyme called EZH2 that inhibits genes that promote normal neuron development, in turn killing neuroblastoma cells.

They say that neuroblastoma arises in immature nerve cells of the adrenal glands and portions of the spine during the development of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the bodys flight or fight response to stress. EZH2 inhibitors are already being tested in phase I and phase II clinical trials for other cancers, including lymphomas, sarcomas, and other solid tumours, with some favourable results, they add.

There are some cancers that are more common in children though they may also get some adult cancers too in rare cases. According to a modelling study in The Lancet Oncology, there are almost 400,000 new cases of childhood cancer annually, while current records count only around 200,000. Researchers say that the new model makes predictions for 200 countries and estimates that undiagnosed cases could account for more than half of the total in Africa, South Central Asia and the Pacific Islands. In contrast, in North America and Europe only three per cent of cases remain undiagnosed. If no improvements are made, researchers estimate that nearly three million further cases will be missed between 2015 and 2030.

Another study at the University of Colorado Cancer Center says that treatments for childhood cancers have improved to the point that 5-year survival rates are over 80 per cent. However, one group has failed to benefit from these improvements. These are children who die so soon after diagnosis that they are not able to receive treatment. Sometimes late treatment also increases the fatality rate of paediatric cancers.

Here, let us take a look at a few types of paediatric cancers other than neuroblastoma.

This is the most common type of paediatric cancer. It affects the bone marrow and blood. According to the American Cancer Society, this type of paediatric cancer accounts for about 30 per cent of all cancers in children. There are many types of leukaemia and the most common types are acute lymphocytic leukaemia and acute myelogenous leukaemia.

What to look out for: Be alert to symptoms of bone and joint pain, unusual tiredness, weakness and a pale skin, bleeding or bruising, fever and weight loss. Early detection can save your child.

The American Cancer Society says that these tumours account for about 26 per cent of paediatric cancers. In children, tumours often occur in the lower parts of the brain.

What to look out for: Symptoms are severe headaches, nausea and vomiting, vision problems, dizziness, seizures and convulsions and coordination issues. Take prompt action if you see any of these signs in your child.

This cancer begins in the cells that develop into skeletal muscles. It can occur in any part of the body The American Cancer Society says that this cancer is relatively rare and affects only about 3 per cent of children globally.

What to look out for: Symptoms are pain, swelling or both.

Also called nephroblastoma, this occurs in one, or in very rare cases, both the kidneys. It mostly affects children below the age of 3 to 4 years.

What to look out for: The first sign is usually a swelling or lump in the abdominal area. Other symptoms are fever, pain, nausea and loss of appetite.

This is a cancer that manifests in the immune system cells called lymphocytes. It affects the bone marrow and other organs. But this paediatric cancer is rarer than leukaemia and brain tumour.

What to look out for: Symptoms are usually unexplained weight loss, recurring fever, bouts of sweating, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes under the skin of the neck, armpit or groin.

This is eye cancer. It strikes children at around 2 years of age. It may make a childs eye look different gradually.

What to look out for: Be alert to any changes in colour and size of eyes. The pupils may also start to look white or pink. You can take a picture of your child with the flash on. This will reveal the whiteness of the pupil.

Published : October 19, 2019 10:32 am | Updated:October 19, 2019 10:33 am

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Save your child from paediatric cancer: Know what to look out for - TheHealthSite

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