Posted in: Cancer by Dr. Tarang Krishna
Cancer growth starts in the cells, which are the building blocks of the body. Usually new cells form as you need them and they replace the old ones. But when new cells form when you don’t need them and old cells don’t die, this results in the formation of tumors. There are two types of tumors- Benign and malignant. Benign tumors are not cancerous while malignant tumors are cancerous. Malignant tumors can invade nearby tissues and spread to the other parts of the body. Youngsters can get cancer in the same parts of the body as grown-ups, however there are contrasts. Youth malignancies can happen abruptly, without early symptoms and have a high rate of cure. One of the most common cancers in children is Leukemia. Other cancers include: brain tumors, lymphoma, and soft tissue sarcoma. Different cancers have different risk factors. Life style related risk factors like overweight, drinking, smoking etc. play a major role in many types of cancer in adults. But lifestyle factors take time to influence cancer risk, and do not play much role in childhood cancer. So what are the risk factors for childhood cancer? The exact cause of cancer is still not found, however few factors like:
- Environmental factor: such as radiation exposure are linked to childhood cancer.
- Changes in the DNA: some children inherit DNA changes (mutations) from a parent that increase their cancer risk and sometimes the changes in the DNA occur before birth.
- Infections: a small fraction of childhood cancer is caused by infections like Burkitt’s lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Also hepatitis B and Kaposi sarcoma are linked with the cancer.
- Drugs: according to some research drugs taken during pregnancies like DES (diethylstilboestrol), a hormone given to pregnant women with threatened miscarriage is linked with childhood cancer.
- Smoking: the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified parental smoking during pregnancy as a cause of hepatoblastoma in offspring. However there are limited evidence linked with smoking and cancer. It is advised that smoking should be avoided during pregnancy.
- Breastfeeding: cancer risk reduces for children who are breastfed for more than six months.
Each type of children's cancer is treated differently, depending on the type and spread of the disease. The most common types of cancer treatment include: Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, bone marrow transplant, targeted therapy and Immuotherapy. Most of the above mentioned treatments have major side effects like hair loss, damage to the normal cells, and loss of bone mass etc. However Immunotherapy is one treatment that cures the disease without any of these major side effects. Cancer Healer Center uses ‘Cancer healer’ therapy which is a type of immunotherapy and has been successful in treating a large number of patients.