Childhood Cancer

What is childhood cancer

Childhood cancer is a rare and life-threatening disease.

It is the leading cause of death by disease in children and the second-highest cause after accidents.

However, early diagnosis and the right medical care can lead to a cure for most children.

It differs from adult cancer, that’s why it requires special treatment and care.

Childhood cancer is not just a disease. There are dozens of different types. The most common ones are:

There is no prevention, just early diagnosis

The cause of most types of cancer in children remains unknown and that’s why there’s no prevention.

However, early diagnosis can significantly increase the cure rates.

Childhood cancer may develop in infants, children and adolescents.

Discover the signs and symptoms of cancer and let others know.

What to look out for

  • A mass (tumour) on any part of the body (head, neck, chest, arms or legs, and increase in the size of the abdomen).
  • Skin bleeding without injury or in areas such as the nose, gums or, less commonly, the intestine or the vagina in girls.
  • Fever without infection, which persists or which subsides without fever medications and reappears.
  • Neurological symptoms, such as headache, vomiting, especially in the morning, mood swings, spasms and slight weakness.
  • Eyes that develop strabismus, enlargement or eyelid drooping, bulging of the eye, bright yellow pupils, bruising, sudden change in visual acuity.
  • Pain on any part of the body, especially the legs and the back. The leg pain may be accompanied by difficulty in walking, which may subside when the child rests.
  • Anorexia, bad mood, paleness, fatigue and anything else bothering the child and the parents.

If the symptoms persist:

Visit your paediatrician and discuss your concerns.

The paediatrician will assess the symptoms and guide you accordingly.

All these symptoms are also observed in other paediatric diseases and do not necessarily mean it is cancer.

Source: Oncology Department, P & A Kyriakou Children’s Hospital.

Childhood cancer in numbers

  • 15,000 children up to 15 years old get sick in Europe every year.
  • 350 children up to 15 years old get sick in Greece every year.
  • More than 500,000 people in Europe have survived childhood cancer.
  • 2/3 of those cured face late effects from the demanding treatments, which affects their day-to-day life.
  • 1 child in 600 births will develop cancer before the age of 20.
  • 80% of children suffering from cancer in developed countries are cured. In developing countries, only 20% of children are cured.

Source: 2019 Data, CCI Europe

Useful links

What are the types of childhood cancer

What are the causes of childhood cancer

What are the late effects of treatment