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When The Big C Hits Small Fry (Part 2) - Bone cancer, Brain cancer, Hodgkins disease, Neuroblastoma

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Bone cancer

The clues are pain and swelling usually in the knees or upper arms, ribs, pelvis. These areas are more prone to fracture. Unlike adults, children’s bone cancers are usually primary and hit between the ages of 10 to 20. There are two kinds - Ewing’s sarcoma and OsteosdIcolIld.

Description: Description: Unlike adults, children’s bone cancers are usually primary and hit between the ages of 10 to 20.

Unlike adults, children’s bone cancers are usually primary and hit between the ages of 10 to 20.

Vinay (11) was found to have difficulty in walking, pain and swelling just above his left knee joint, and fever. A biopsy taken from the leg swelling showed up as high grade osteosarcoma. A CT Scan of the chest and MRI of the leg identified the extent of the malignancy. Chemotherapy was started and after two cycles when the pain subsided he underwent salvage surgery of the leg. Says Dr. Bhansal: This means that instead of amputating it, as was done in the past, the tumour was excised and a customized prosthesis was inserted. After this Vinay underwent chemotherapy for nine months. Fever and low blood counts between sessions were treated.

Vinay now plays football happily, but has to take a blood test and chest X-ray every six months.

Brain cancer

Medullablastoma accounts for 25% of childhood brain tumours.

Cues are a persistent worsening headache, morning vomiting (frequently without nausea), lethargy, irritability, blurred vision, dizziness, stiff neck, unsteady gait, seizures.

Description: Description: Medullablastoma accounts for 25% of childhood brain tumours.

Medullablastoma accounts for 25% of childhood brain tumours

The disease is confirmed by a CT or MRI.

A combination of surgery, radiation and chemo can result in complete recovery.

Hodgkins disease (Cancer of the Lymph Glands)

Lymphomas are cancers of an ingredient in the White Blood Cells which reside in the lymphatic system and blood forming agents, and are duty bound to fight infection. 

It rarely occurs before the age of 10, for teenagers are more prone.

Description: Description: It rarely occurs before the age of 10, for teenagers are more prone.

It rarely occurs before the age of 10, for teenagers are more prone.

Red signals are painless and persistent swelling in the neck (which become painful when the child has a cold or a fever), swelling in shoulder and armpits, fever, lethargy, gradual weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, itching, breathing difficulty, an excessive cough. 

A CT Scan and biopsy can confirm the suspicion. An ultrasound checks for nodes in the chest or abdomen.

Radiation or chemo or both can completely cure the child in 90% cases. When 12 -year - old Aditi was shown to Dr. Bansal, she had a swelling in the left lower neck, loss of appetite and a weight loss of 2 kilos, all in one month. A biopsy of her neck revealed Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. 

A full body PET CT scan ascertained the extent and stage of the disease. Luckily, she had been brought in without delay and the disease had not spread. It was classified as Stage Il (cervical and armpit node involvement). She was administered chemo every 15 days, and attended school between cycles for six months. She is now totally disease free and is planning a career in medicine, no less. 

Neuroblastoma (Cancer of the Nervous System)

It develops in certain nerve tissues in the abdomen, chest, adrenal glands (above the kidneys), rarely, in the brain.

It is the most common cancer in infants and children below 5, and one of the most common tumours in children of any age. They sometimes run in families.

Description: Description: It is the most common cancer in infants and children below 5, and one of the most common tumours in children of any age.

It is the most common cancer in infants and children below 5, and one of the most common tumours in children of any age.

The symptoms depend on the origin and spread. For example, abdomen originators manifest in a bulky tummy, a sensation of fullness, pain. Coughs or breathing difficulty come from the chest. Invasion of bones means pain, a reduced red blood cell count creates weakness; less platelets causes bruising, low WBC reduces resistance to infection. It can spread to the skin to trigger lumps, or the spinal cord which weakens arms and legs. Ninety percent produce and hormone epinephrine which can increase the heart rate and cause anxiety.

Diagnosis is by ultrasound, CT, MRI. A urine test shows excessive hormones. Children below one have an excellent prognosis. If the cancer has not spread it can be removed by surgery. Chemo and radiation may be used.

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