Last updated on Jun 22nd, 2021 at 11:30 am
Though the risk of your child developing cancer remains fairly low, it is still something that every parent worries about. Here are some early cancer signs to watch out for…
With every ache or pain, there is that nagging thought that this could be a sign of something far more sinister. So how do you know exactly what to look for and when you should really be worried?
There are several forms of cancer that can present in children
The most common are leukemia and brain cancer, although lymphoma, neuroblastoma, bone tumours, retinoblastoma and Wilmâ??s tumour, a growth that affects the kidneys, can all possibly develop in children as young as two years old. The difficult part in diagnosing childhood cancer is recognising the symptoms.
Thatâ??s because many of the symptoms of cancer in children can also be a sign of other, much less serious, conditions. Everything from fever to frequent infections to vomiting and headaches could be a sign of a developing cancer. But they could also just be common childhood symptoms that come and go without the need for treatment or worry.
Obviously, you donâ??t want to run to the doctor every time your child has a headache
So how can you know when there is real cause for concern? The answer is in the length and severity of the symptoms. As previously stated, symptoms like these can occur in children as the result of a common cold, an infection or even an allergy. In these cases, the symptoms usually donâ??t last very long and will clear up on their own.
When they persist for an unusual length of time or seem to get more severe for no obvious reason, then you might want to consider taking your child to your health practitioner for a more thorough examination, just to be on the safe side. A fever that lasts for more than two weeks, for instance, is not considered normal and could be a warning sign of something more severe.
By the same token, vomiting and headaches that last for more than a week and seem to get more severe at certain times of day can be a signal of a developing tumour. A brain tumour can also cause other symptoms, including difficulty in walking, seizures and personality changes. Any combination of these symptoms is definite cause for concern.
Unexplained pains are also cause for concern
Bone pain not related to a specific injury, a persistent cough and an enlarging mass on the abdomen, arms or legs are also strong warning signs of a potential cancer threat. So too are changes in appetite and sudden loss of weight. It is not normal for children to lose weight rapidly so that can be a sign that the body is not functioning as it should be.
While the prospect of childhood cancer can be frightening, it still remains rather rare. So, while you shouldnâ??t panic, you also donâ??t want to take any chances with your child. For this reason you should remain vigilant when your child displays any unusual symptoms and if they persist or worsen, then youâ??ll want to consult with your pediatrician to rule out cancer as a cause.