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Childhood Cancer Day 2021: Early diagnosis is key to successful treatment, Dr. Vipin Khandelwal suggests

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On this day of childhood cancer, we had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Vipin Khandelwal and provide expertise on the same. Here are some common facts about childhood cancer in India and how they can help with successful early diagnosis and treatment.

Childhood cancer is an important cause of death in children and adolescents worldwide, with approximately 300,000 children between the ages of 0 and 19 being diagnosed with cancer each year. In India, childhood cancer accounts for almost 3-5 percent of all cancer cases. According to the Indian Cancer Society. Fortunately, most childhood cancers are now curable with multidisciplinary treatment, thereby achieving a cure rate of about 80 percent.

The most common categories of childhood cancer include leukemia, brain tumors, lymphomas, and solid tumors such as neuroblastoma and Wilms tumor. It is the most common cancer of all these acute lymphoblastic leukemias (ALL), with a cure rate of about 90 percent.

Diagnosis of cancer is very painful at any age, especially if the patient is a child. Naturally there are many questions. Here are some frequently asked questions, and I had the opportunity to get answers from Dr. Vipin Khandelwal, consultant and director of pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplantation at the BLK Bone Marrow Transplant Center.

What Causes Cancer-Can Cancer Be Inherited by Parents?

Like other cancers in adults, cancers in children are caused by the possibility of mutations and are almost never inherited. This mutation in the gene then leads to uncontrolled cell growth leading to cancer. The cause of most childhood cancers is unknown. Approximately 5% of all cancers in children are caused by hereditary mutations (genetic mutations inherited from parents to children) Retinoblastoma, an eye cancer in children, is a cancer caused by hereditary mutations It’s a good example. Children.

What are the warning signs and symptoms of childhood cancer?

Symptoms depend on the type of cancer. There are some threatening signs that require an evaluation of cancer.

Unexplained fever, loss of weight and appetite, pallor, malaise, bruising, or bleeding.

Lumps and swelling of the abdomen, pelvis, head and neck, limbs, testicles, and lymph glands.

Bone, joints, back pain, simple fractures.

White spots on the eyes, new strabismus, blindness, swollen eyes.

For all the above signs and symptoms, you should first rule out common causes such as infections. After that, you need to proceed to the evaluation of cancer.

Who needs to treat my child and what are the treatment options?

Childhood cancer is not always treated like adult cancer because of its different biology and psychology from adults. Most childhood cancers are growing rapidly and are also very sensitive to chemotherapy treatment.

Cancer treatment in children is usually done in multiple ways, with various combinations of chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, hematopoietic stem cells, or bone marrow transplants. All of these are highly specialized treatments that require special infrastructure and expertise, including pediatric oncologists / hematologists, pediatric surgeons, radiation oncologists, pediatric oncologists, and various pediatric disciplines. Pediatric nurse specialists, social workers and psychologists are under the same roof. The exact treatment for an individual case depends on the type of cancer, its stage, and often where the cancer is (in the case of solid tumors).

What precautions should my child take during and after treatment?

Treatments are often long, so most of the time they are at home and require special care, including good hygiene and balanced nutrition. They can eat anything that is hygienic and well cooked at home. Cancer is not contagious and does not spread, so you can play with other family members. They need to stay away from their families who have the flu. This is a similar precaution we follow against COVID 19 infection. If you have a fever, you should notify us immediately and come to an emergency.

Children who have been treated for cancer are just as normal as any other child and can go to school and play. They receive regular vaccinations that have been discontinued during treatment. Survivors of childhood cancer must receive regular follow-up care to monitor their growth and health after treatment.

Childhood cancer is curable and is just as important as other common childhood problems we are working hard on, such as malnutrition, diarrhea, dengue fever, and malaria. It is generally impossible to prevent childhood cancer. The most effective strategy to reduce the burden of childhood cancer is to focus on rapid and accurate diagnosis followed by effective treatment.

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