Every year, International Childhood Cancer Day, observed on February 15th, provides an opportunity to shed light on the challenges faced by children and families affected by cancer worldwide. Despite significant progress in medical research and treatment options, childhood cancer remains a devastating reality for far too many families. Understanding the common types of childhood cancer and recognising their signs is crucial for early detection and improved outcomes. On this International Childhood Cancer Day 2024, here are the common types of childhood cancer and the signs that caregivers should be aware of. Let us unite in the fight against childhood cancer and advocate for a brighter, healthier future for all children.

International Childhood Cancer Day 2024: Types of Childhood Cancer

Childhood cancer encompasses various types, each with its own set of characteristics and treatment approaches. Some of the most prevalent types include:

1. Leukemia: Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer, affecting the blood and bone marrow. It typically manifests as an abnormal increase in immature white blood cells, hindering the body's ability to fight infections. Signs may include persistent fatigue, pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, fever, and bone pain.

2. Brain Tumors: Brain tumors can occur in children of all ages and can be benign or malignant. Symptoms may vary depending on the location and size of the tumor but can include headaches, vomiting, visual disturbances, seizures, and changes in

behaviour or personality.

3. Neuroblastoma: Neuroblastoma is a cancer that develops from immature nerve cells and commonly affects infants and young children. Signs may include a lump or swelling in the abdomen, bone pain, unexplained weight loss, and changes in bowel or bladder habits.

4. Wilms Tumor: Wilms tumor is a type of kidney cancer that primarily affects children. Signs may include abdominal swelling or mass, blood in the urine, fever, and high blood pressure.

5. Lymphoma: Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system and can occur in lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, or other organs. Symptoms may include swollen lymph nodes, fever, night sweats, weight loss, and fatigue.

International Childhood Cancer Day 2024: Early Signs and Symptoms

Recognising the early signs and symptoms of childhood cancer is crucial for prompt diagnosis and treatment. While these symptoms may not always indicate cancer, they should prompt further evaluation by a healthcare professional if persistent or severe. Common warning signs include:

Unexplained weight loss

Persistent fever, headaches, or vomiting

Fatigue or lethargy

Easy bruising or bleeding

Unexplained pain, especially in bones or joints

Prolonged or unexplained fever

Changes in vision or balance

Swelling or lumps in the abdomen, neck, or elsewhere
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