Paediatric Cancers are those cancers that occur in young children. However, it is essential to note that many Paediatric Cancers also occur in adults. In general Paediatric Cancers are relatively rare, with far fewer children suffering from cancer than their adult counterparts. Still, for all this, cancer is still the second most common cause of death in children in western countries.
The most common of the Paediatric Cancers is Leukaemia, a type of cancer that affects the blood. Leukaemia cancers comprise almost a third of Paediatric Cancers. Other types of Paediatric Cancers found in young patiences include malignant brain tumours, which comprise just over a fifth of all childhood cancers, as well as lymphomas and some times of bone cancers. There are, however, some types of cancers that are only found in children. These exclusively Paediatric Cancers are neuroblastoma, Wilms’ tumours, rhabdomysarcoma, and retinoblastoma.
The consequences of cancer treatment in young patients can be worth than those found in adult patients, as young cancer suffers can experience a range of health-related issues that affect their growth and development. These include infertility, poor growth, and damage to the heart. In addition, many young cancer patients will also develop second cancers at some point later in life.
The treatment of young cancer patients varies, but often involves many of the same treatments undergone by adults. Surgery is often used, and often in combination with treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Childhood cancer survival rates tend to be quite high, perhaps in part due to the frequent medical check-ups that children undergo, which serves as a screening process, as well as the watchful nature of parents. Of all childhood cancer patients, roughly eight in ten will survive the critical five year period. This is a large increase on figures from the 1960s that indicated that only three in ten children would survive the five year period.
Alternative treatments may offer young cancer patients some respite as part of a palliative care initiative, or as part of a complementary treatment plan designed to help children deal better with the rigorous treatment process. Alternative treatments are often designed to help improve the overall general physical health of the cancer patient, and as such may have a positive impact on their physical health, their mental well-being, and on their outlook in the years to come. For your interest, more information about alternative therapies and approaches can be found on this site.