“After this, acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the most common childhood cancer which occurs when a bone marrow cell develops errors in its DNA. Thirdly, lymphoma cancer is also common among children that begins in infection-fighting cells of the immune system,” he said.
About the common symptoms of cancer in children, Dr Rakesh, Pediatrician at Lady Hardinge Medical College, said that prolonged fever of over one month and pain in bones and common viral illnesses are the common symptoms. “If children are losing weight continuously, it is also a symptom of cancer as well as bleeding resulting into the lower platelets are some symptoms which needs early detection and treatment.”
Most of the childhood cancers have a male preponderance. Cancer forms the 9th most common cause of mortality among children between 5 to 14 years of age in India.
“There are more than 10 types of cancers which can be seen in children. Some of the common childhood cancers are acute leukemia, brain tumor, lymphoma, neuroblastoma, Wilm’s tumor, retinoblastoma and soft tissue sarcomas. Among these, the most common pediatric cancer is acute leukemia (blood cancer) which constitutes more than one third of all pediatric malignancies,” said Dr Vikas Dua, Director, Pediatric Hematology & Oncology, Fortis Hospital, Gurugram.
He said that some symptoms which warrant urgent referral of the child to a pediatric haemato-oncologist are low hemoglobin, low or high white blood cell count and low platelet count since these findings are not always explained by nutritional factors and infections.