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Signs of Cancer in Children: What Parents Should Watch Out For

Cancer is a rare disease in children. However, parents still need to be cautious about illnesses that can endanger their children's health. It may be difficult to detect cancer in children, as the initial symptoms are often similar to those caused by common diseases or ordinary injuries.

However, there are some symptoms of this disease that parents should be aware of in order to have their children checked by a doctor promptly. Early detection and treatment can increase a child's chances of recovery. Let's take a look at the signs of cancer in children here!

Signs of Cancer in Children to Watch Out For

The symptoms of cancer in children may vary depending on the type. However, if your child shows the following signs, it is best to have them checked by a doctor right away:

Unexplained weight loss

Your child may suddenly experience weight loss, despite no changes in their eating habits and their activities not being too physically demanding. If this happens, it's best to have them checked by a doctor immediately.

Headaches

Headaches are a common health problem. Usually, the cause is not a serious condition. However, be careful if your child experiences headaches that are often accompanied by vomiting in the morning. This may be a sign of brain cancer.

Swelling with pain

If your child complains of continuous pain in their bones, joints, back, or legs and appears swollen, it's best to have them checked by a doctor.

Lumps on the body

Be aware of lumps that appear on your child's body, especially in the abdomen, neck, chest, pelvis, or armpit. Lumps are often a common sign of cancer.

Excessive bruising, bleeding, or rash

Bruising, cuts, or scratches while playing is normal for children, especially if they are active. However, be careful if your child has bruises or rashes that look unusual or excessive bleeding that doesn't heal. Have them checked by a doctor immediately.

Frequent infections

Lymphoma cancer is a type of cancer that attacks white blood cells. These cells play an important role in fighting infections that enter the body. When a child has a disorder of white blood cells, including lymphoma cancer, this condition makes them more vulnerable to infections. Not only that, the infections they experience will also be more difficult to recover from.

Frequent fatigue

Is your child often tired and their face looks pale? Be careful, as this is also an early sign of common cancer. Cancer cells use nutrients in the body to grow, so those nutrients cannot be converted into energy. That's why cancer patients feel very tired.

Changes in the eyes or vision

Sudden blurry or shadowy vision can be a sign of brain cancer. Meanwhile, a pupil that appears white when exposed to light can be a sign of retinoblastoma, the most common eye cancer that affects children.

Recurring fever or persistent fever

Fever is also a common health problem in children. However, if your child frequently experiences fever without any clear reason, parents need to be cautious. This could be a sign of leukemia, a type of cancer that is also very common in children.

Prevent Cancer in Children by Maintaining Personal Hygiene

If most cancers in children are difficult to prevent, there is one thing that parents can do to reduce the risk of this disease: maintain personal hygiene. Encourage your child to take a bath regularly, wash their hands before eating, and after using the bathroom, and remind them to avoid sharing personal items such as towels, combs, or toothbrushes.

In conclusion, it is important for parents to be aware of the signs of cancer in children at an early stage. Although cancer is a rare disease in children, parents should be aware of the symptoms that may indicate cancer, which can be similar to those of common illnesses or injuries. 

Symptoms may vary depending on the type of cancer, but parents should be cautious if their child experiences unexplained weight loss, frequent headaches accompanied by vomiting, painful swelling in bones or joints, lumps in the body, excessive bruising or bleeding, recurrent infections, constant fatigue, changes in vision, or unexplained fevers. 

Keeping personal hygiene practices such as regular bathing, washing hands before eating and after using the restroom, and avoiding sharing personal items like towels, combs, or toothbrushes can help reduce the risk of cancer in children. Early detection and treatment can increase the chances of a child's recovery.

Reference:

  1. CancerNet. Retrieved 2023. Childhood Cancer: Symptoms and Signs.
  2. BetterHealth. Retrieved 2023. Cancer in children.

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