Childhood cancer: what we need to know
According to a literature review of International incidence of childhood cancer, there are currently 300,000 children aged 0-19 worldwide suffering from cancer. Cancer of the blood, lymphatic system and brain are the most common types among them. Cancer survival rates are high in developed countries (80%), while it is 20% for emerging and poor countries. These figures can be explained by the discovery of effective treatments and the constant improvement of screening tools and methods. Early detection combined with effective therapies has reduced the infant and child mortality rate from cancer in rich countries.
Prevention and importance of early diagnosis
Up to this day, the causes of childhood cancer are still unknown. The most commonly studied by researchers at present are genetic and environmental factors. The former remains inevitable until now, but the latter can be avoided by a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Parents are strongly advised to monitor their childern’s diet and exposure to certain types of pollution.
Childhood cancer deaths in middle- and low-income countries can be explained by misdiagnosis and lack of or delay in screening. A rapid and correct diagnosis will make cancer treatment more accurate and effective. This practice will significantly increase the patients’ chances of survival. This can be applied regardless of the patients’ age.
The formula that works: Screening, therapy and support
By identifying the type of cancer and its stage of progression, good screening makes it possible to specify the intervention(s) to be performed on the disease. Some pediatric cancers can currently be cured by the use of specific drugs (chemotherapy), surgery and radiotherapy. In underdeveloped countries, the majority of children with cancer do not have access to appropriate care. The most obvious reason is the lack of financial resources. Add to this the lack of sufficient technology, parents in "survival" mode, and sometimes poorly trained doctors, and you will get the dramatic cocktail that leads thousands of children to die from this condition.
Even in countries where cancer can be treated properly, the cancer episode is still very upsetting for the child. Hospitalization, pain, and morphological changes are traumatic. To ensure the child's return to normal life after cancer, supportive cares during and after the disease are vital. Rehabilitation and psychotherapy sessions are strongly recommended.
For the child’s well-being, intolerances to certain therapies must be prioritized. These include fatigue, discomfort and changes in appearance that can be very destabilizing during and after the disease. Among all these emergencies, the physical presence of relatives to support the sick child remains the most important. The assistance and company of a person around him or her soothes the child's suffering. This is essential for his recovery. Anyway, we need Love in all circumstances, especially in the like.
(Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on )