Paediatric Cancer Day: Cancer Among Children A Growing Concern

Paediatric Cancer Day: Cancer Among Children A Growing Concern

Through advances in research and treatment, the outlook for children with solid tumours has improved significantly in recent years. However, there is still much work to be done to ensure that every child diagnosed with cancer has access to the best possible care.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Wednesday, February 14, 2024, 08:46 PM IST
article-image
Cancer | Representational Image | Pexels

Today is paediatric cancer day. In India, cancer among children is a growing concern, with an estimated 50,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Childhood cancer accounts for about 3-5% of all cancer cases in the country, with leukaemia (blood cancer) being the most common type, followed by brain tumours, lymphomas, and solid tumours.

The incidence of paediatric cancer varies across different regions of India, with higher rates reported in urban areas and among children from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. Access to quality cancer care remains a challenge for many children, highlighting the need for increased awareness, early detection, and improved treatment facilities to ensure better outcomes for young patients.

About Paediatric Cancer

Cancer is a daunting diagnosis at any age, but when it strikes a child, its impact is particularly devastating. Paediatric cancer, though relatively less common as compared to adult cancers, presents unique challenges in diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. Most importantly cancers in children are different from those that occur in adults, hence specialised expertise in each modality of treatment is crucial to improving treatment outcomes. Among the various types, solid tumours are a significant concern, requiring specialised care and attention.

Solid tumours in children can occur in various parts of the body, including the brain, kidneys, liver, bones, and muscles. Unlike leukaemia, which affects the blood and bone marrow, solid tumours are characterised by the formation of abnormal masses of tissue. These can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), with latter posing the greatest threat to a child’s health.

One of the most challenging aspects of solid tumours is their diverse nature. There are many different types, each with its own unique characteristics and treatment requirements. For example, neuroblastoma, a cancer that develops from immature nerve cells, primarily affects infants and young children. Osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, typically occurs in older children and adolescents.

Diagnosing solid tumours often requires a multidisciplinary approach. Advanced imaging techniques play a crucial role in identifying the location, size and extent. Additionally, a biopsy is usually necessary.

Treatment

Treatment varies depending on the type and stage of the cancer but typically includes a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. In some cases, targeted therapies and immunotherapies may also be used to specifically target cancer cells while minimising damage to healthy tissues. 

Survivorship is an important aspect of paediatric cancer care, as many children go on to live long and healthy lives after treatment. However, survivors may face long-term side effects, such as cognitive deficits, infertility, and secondary cancers, due to the aggressive nature of the treatments.

In conclusion, paediatric solid tumours are a complex and challenging group of cancers that require specialised care and expertise. Through advances in research and treatment, the outlook for children with solid tumours has improved significantly in recent years. However, there is still much work to be done to ensure that every child diagnosed with cancer has access to the best possible care.

By Invitation: Dr Sushmita Bhatnagar. The writer is chairperson of Association of Paediatric Surgical Oncology.

RECENT STORIES

Indore: Health Department Advisory To Prevent Dengue Amid Rising Cases

Indore: Health Department Advisory To Prevent Dengue Amid Rising Cases

Indore: Health Department Launches Drone Survey To Combat Dengue

Indore: Health Department Launches Drone Survey To Combat Dengue

Cancer Care In Maharashtra: State Gets 1st MR Fusion Prostate Biopsy Machine At Mumbai's Sir H. N....

Cancer Care In Maharashtra: State Gets 1st MR Fusion Prostate Biopsy Machine At Mumbai's Sir H. N....

FPJ Mini-Marathon: 'Green Run' For Better India Brings Smiles, Fitness & Refreshing Joy

FPJ Mini-Marathon: 'Green Run' For Better India Brings Smiles, Fitness & Refreshing Joy

Indore: Health Minister Rajendra Shukla Sees Master Plan For MYH Renovation

Indore: Health Minister Rajendra Shukla Sees Master Plan For MYH Renovation