Learn about the ways to prevent disease most damaging young lives


Monday, 07 September 2020 At 10:43 PM(Yemen Press_Followings)

The world celebrates the International Child Cancer Month, every September, under the leadership of international, regional and local medical institutions, with the aim of increasing citizens’ awareness of the disease and showing support for the injured, survivors and their families.

The term “childhood cancer” is commonly used to refer to cancer that appears in children before the age of 18, according to the World Health Organization. Despite their seriousness, childhood cancers are rare, accounting for between 0.5% and 4.6% of all types of cancer, and overall childhood cancer rates range from 50 to 200 children per million children worldwide.

The most common types

The pattern of childhood cancer differs greatly from people of all other ages, with leukemia accounting for about a third (of all) cancers in childhood. The other most common malignancies are lymphomas and central nervous system tumors.

There are many types of tumors that affect almost only children, including neuroblastoma, renaloblastoma, myeloblastoma and retinoblastoma.

Cancers of the breast, lung, colon and rectum, which usually affect adults, are extremely rare in children. What are its risks?

To date, only a few of the risk factors for childhood cancer have been identified. This includes ionizing radiation and taking the hormone diethylesty-lipestrol during pregnancy (a treatment that is no longer in use).

A number of childhood cancers are also linked to genetics, and gene-based individual sensitivity may play a role as well.

Some studies have suggested that viruses such as Epstein-Barr, hepatitis B, human herpes, and HIV may also contribute to an increased risk of some childhood cancers.

Geographical scope

According to the World Health Organization, it is difficult so far to obtain a comprehensive picture of childhood cancer worldwide, due to the fact that cancer registries are not generally available in most low and middle-income countries.

Based on the available information, it appears that there are significant differences in the incidence of childhood cancers such as leukemia and nervous system tumors, from place to place.

For example, in sub-Saharan Africa, people in that region have higher rates of lymphoma, particularly Burkitt’s lymphoma, compared to other regions.

According to the World Health Organization, this may result from increased exposure to viral infections.

Early detection

Most childhood cancers initially present with nonspecific signs and symptoms, which may result in delayed detection. In high-income countries, because children are usually subject to parental and medical surveillance, there is a high chance that cancer is detected early.

However, in low-resource countries, there are additional barriers to early detection, including poor access to health services and insufficient diagnostic facilities.

Treatment opportunities

Approximately 80% of children with cancer live five years or more after a cancer is diagnosed. These improved outcomes lead to an increased number of long-term survivors who need follow-up treatment and care.

In the United States, for example, 11,050 children from birth to 14 years of age are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year, and 1,190 children are also expected to die of cancer, according to statistics from the Cancer Institute of the US National Cancer Institute.

“Although cancer mortality rates for this age group have decreased by 65 percent from 1970 to 2016, cancer is still the leading cause of death among children,” the site says.

In low- and middle-income countries, the situation appears more complex, especially with the difficulty of predicting the impact of cancer on children, and this is due to late diagnosis, low levels of effective treatment, poorly equipped hospitals, as well as other diseases that children may develop and a lack of knowledge about cancer among primary health care providers.

Additionally: the treatment is simply not affordable for many parents in low-resource settings who will be required to pay the costs themselves.

Therapeutic tools:

The Saudi Ministry of Health defines treatment options for childhood cancer as either surgical treatment; For the purpose of eliminating tumor or chemotherapy; They are chemical drugs that work to kill cancer cells, as well as radiation therapy using high-energy rays such as X-rays, or stem cell transplantation by bone marrow transfusion, and it can be taken from the body of the patient or from a donor.

Regarding prevention methods, the Ministry advises to “avoid exposing the child to intense radiation”, and to pay attention to feeding the child to raise his immunity, and if the child suffers from a syndrome or a genetic defect, he must follow up periodically with a geneticist.

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