While there is no one cure for cancer, modern medicine has made it possible to treat many types of cancer, including childhood cancer. The earlier an illness is diagnosed and treatment begins, the greater the chance for recovery, and the lower the risk for relapse. Take a look at these 7 warning signs and symptoms of childhood cancer to help protect your children.
1. Swollen Lymph Nodes
The lymphatic system carries a clear fluid through the body that helps to clear out waste and bacteria. Lymph fluid also helps carry white blood cells throughout the body to fight off infection and disease. There are many lymph nodes all over the human body, some in plain sight, others hidden deep inside. The nodes that you will notice swelling are in the armpits, neck and groin. Sometimes swelling is a sign of a simple cold or the flu, but it can also be one of the warning signs of childhood cancer, specifically that of leukemia or lymphoma.
2. Joint Pain
Pain and swelling in the joints and around bones can be a symptom of an injury or arthritis, but it can also be a sign of bone cancer. This usually occurs due to a tumor in the bone, which makes it difficult to move, and it is painful, even when still.
3. Fever & Sweating
Symptoms of the common cold, parents should monitor fevers and sweating, especially night sweats. If these become common place, or you are unable to break the fever with traditional medication, speak to a physician immediately. A fever is the body's way of saying there is an infection and some tumors produce toxins which enter the blood stream and cause a fever.
4. Nausea, Vomiting, and Headaches
Flu symptoms which could also be included in the 7 warning signs and symptoms of childhood cancer are nausea, vomiting and headaches. While most assume that a headache could possibly indicate brain cancer, it could also be a symptom of colon cancer, rectum cancer, or a tumor in the back or in the neck. Vomiting could be due to a cancer of the stomach, or a result of additional symptoms which cause fatigue and dizziness to occur.
5. Trouble Seeing
One of the apparently serious 7 warning signs and symptoms of childhood cancer is difficulty in seeing. Visit the emergency room as soon as possible if you notice this in your child. This could be a sign of eye cancer, brain cancer, or a tumor pressing near the optic nerve.
6. Trouble Walking
If your child has difficulty walking, it could be due to a bone tumor causing pain and stiffness, or a tumor pressing on the spine. It could also be a symptom related to dizziness and sight problems.
7. Sudden Unexplained Weight Loss
Unexplained weight loss is one of the signs of childhood cancer, as 80% of advanced cancer sufferers will see weight loss and muscle loss. This can be due to a loss of appetite, changes in taste, difficulty chewing or digesting foods, as well as metabolism changes.
If your child is demonstrating one or more of the above symptoms, see a health care professional as soon as possible.