Childhood Cancer Day or International Childhood Cancer Day is celebrated every February 15. The existence of this momentum aims to increase awareness related to cancer in children. is celebrated every February 15. The existence of this momentum aims to increase awareness related to cancer in children.
Advances in medicine have increased the chances of surviving cancer. Cancer needs to be detected at an early stage so that cancer treatment can be given immediately. Therefore, cancer in children is important to detect early.
Cancer in children (Childhood Cancer Day)
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells or tissues. Quoting an explanation on the page of the Directorate of Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases of the Ministry of Health, cancer in children is cancer that occurs in children aged less than 18 years, including children who are still in the womb.
Unlike adults, children are generally not able to express what they feel, so cancer in children is more difficult to detect. Therefore, it is very important for parents to recognize the signs and symptoms of cancer in children so that they can be treated immediately. That way, the chances of healing are greater.
Causes of Cancer in Children (Childhood Cancer Day)
Cancer can be experienced by anyone and at any age, including children. Cancer can also grow in various parts of the body. Usually cancer growth begins with genetic changes in cells that grow uncontrollably and form a mass. If left untreated, these masses can continue to grow and attack other parts of the body.
The causes of cancer in children are not known with certainty. The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that many studies have tried to find out the causes of cancer in children, but very few cancers are caused by environmental and lifestyle factors.
Common Types of Cancer In Children
According to WHO, the most common cancers in children include leukemia, brain cancer, and lymphoma and solid tumors, such as neuroblastoma.
According to the National Cancer Institute, leukemia is most common in adults over 55 years of age and children younger than 15 years. Reported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, in children who have leukemia, the bone marrow produces more abnormal white blood cells that are immature, so they are unable to fight infection.
Meanwhile, brain cancer occurs when there is abnormal cell growth in the brain. The existence of these cancer growths can suppress certain parts of the brain so that it interferes with brain functions, such as movement, sensation, ability to think, to habits.
Cancer Becomes a Cause of Child Death
Of all cancers, about 3 to 5 percent of them occur in children. WHO estimates that as many as 400 thousand children and adolescents aged 0 to 19 years experience cancer each year.
In addition, cancer is the second biggest cause of death in children aged 5 to 14 years, according to the Ministry of Health’s website for the Directorate of Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases.
WHO says, more than 80 percent of children with cancer in high-income countries can be cured. Meanwhile, in low- and middle-income countries, less than 30 percent of children with cancer can be cured. One of the reasons for low survival rates in low- and middle-income countries is late diagnosis.
The Importance of Early Childhood Cancer Detection
Early detection of childhood cancer cases is considered to be the key to successful cancer control in children. This is because cancer tends to respond effectively to treatment and has a greater chance of survival if it is detected early. In addition, child development is also more significant when cancer is detected early.
If parents suspect that their child has cancer, parents are expected to immediately take their child to a health facility. The goal is to ensure the signs or symptoms experienced by children are caused by cancer or other diseases.
It is important for parents to pay attention if their child has signs or symptoms that are suspected of cancer. When detected early, cancer tends to respond well to treatment and the chances of survival are also higher. In addition, the child’s development is more significant if the cancer is detected at an early stage.
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