ABC Medical Center > Cancer > Signs and symptoms to detect childhood cancer

Signs and symptoms to detect childhood cancer

9 August 2022

Key points:

  • Eight out of 10 childhood cancer patients are cured.
  • Childhood cancer is the second leading cause of death in children between the ages of five and 14.
  • Leukemia, lymphoma, and central nervous system tumors are the most common types of childhood cancer.

Childhood cancer is the second leading cause of death in children between the ages of five and 14, says Dr. Yadira Melchor Vidal, pediatric oncologist at ABC Medical Center; taking around 2,000 lives annually.

Cancer is an abnormal production of cells that fail to differentiate, invading some organs of our body, replicating uncontrollably, and performing functions that they should not have in our body.

Main types of childhood cancer

There is a wide variety of cancer, the main types are:

  • Leukemia: 52%
  • Lymphoma: 12%
  • Tumors of the central nervous system: 7%

“Unlike what happens with cancer in adults, the causes of the vast majority of cases of childhood cancer are unknown.” 1

Although it can occur at any time in childhood, five years of age and adolescence are highly relevant stages.

During five years of age, it is the moment when the children’s nervous system has a greater differentiation since there is the greatest number of behavioral changes and adaptations to the social environment.

While adolescence is considered the highest point of growth, there being hormonal stimuli that can help these changes to differentiate towards diseased cells.

As a father or mother you should not be alarmed, the important thing is to be aware of your children and take this as an opportunity to detect any alteration and thus, go to the pediatrician for consultations known as “healthy child follow-up”, which are specific follow-ups in all growth stages of the child.

In case of suspicion of childhood cancer, or even, in the face of a diagnosis, it can be considered curable, as long as it is detected in time. Currently, eight out of 10 childhood cancer patients are cured, therefore, it is very important to always keep in mind the signs and symptoms that can alert us to this situation.

How to detect childhood cancer?

Dr. Melchor points out that there are different situations to consider and detect childhood cancer in time:

  • Loses interest in playing. Every child loves to play, if they are constantly tired it is an alarm.
  • Fever for extended periods. Attention should be paid if the fever lasts more than a week and is not related to any infection.
  • Excessive sweating when sleeping. If the child’s bed ends up soaked in the morning, it is considered excessive sweating and must be taken into account.
  • They lose learned skills. During their growth, children are learning new skills such as crawling, walking, or even babbling, among others, if they lose any skill already learned, it should be a warning sign.
  • Bruises, spots, or bleeding. If the child suffers from bruises, red spots, or bleeding for no apparent reason, it should be considered a warning sign.
  • Lose weight quickly. An alarming loss occurs when the child loses 10% to 20% of their weight in a week.
  • Excessive paleness. In case of detecting that the child is very pale, the palms of the hands do not have a pink tone, or even the inner part of the eyelid has lost its red coloration it is considered excessive paleness and should be discussed with the pediatrician.
  • Bone-ache. The so-called growing bone pain does not really exist, and if it does happen, it is because there is something wrong with children; it could be something orthopedic, infectious, or related to childhood cancer.
  • Headache. If there is an excessive or extended headache that does not improve with the use of any medication, it should be reported to the pediatrician.

At ABC Medical Center’s Cancer Center, we can provide you with specialized care. Contact us!

Dra. Yadira Melchor Vidal – Pediatric oncologist at ABC Medical Center
1 https://www.who.int/es/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer-in-children

How can we help you?

    Dra. Yadira Berenice Melchor Vidal

    Dra. Yadira Berenice Melchor Vidal

    Pediatrics Oncology

    Formed as Médico Cirujano at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Specialized on Pediatrics Oncology at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

    Learn more about this doctor Medical profile