Toxic Baby

Would you recognize the symptoms of childhood cancer?

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) cells

Cancer (particularly when it comes to our children) is something that we really never want to think about.  However, childhood cancer  is increasing all over the developed world and is still the leading cause of death by disease.  Early detection is absolutely vital if a child is going to survive a bout of cancer.  You use a car seats and seat belts… just in case.  You need to know these symptoms for that very same reason.

Without going into too much overwhelming detail, children mostly tend to get cancers of the blood (leukemias) and of the brain.  If these symptoms persist for more than a week, go straight to your doctor.  Cancer is tricky to diagnose and you have to trust your instincts as a parent.  Here’s what to look out for :

  • Flu like symptoms
  • Increased swelling of or persistent pains in the legs, joints, back and bones
  • Headaches, often with vomiting early in the morning
  • Lumps or masses in the abdomen, arm pits, neck, pelvis and chest
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Excessive (and easy) bruising, bleeding (especially from gums) and rashes
  • Constant infections
  • A whitish color behind the pupils
  • Nausea which persists or vomiting without nausea
  • Constant tiredness and noticeable paleness
  • Sudden eye or vision changes that persist
  • Recurrent or persistent fevers
I know, firsthand, the dread of suspecting a tumor in your child.  The Dude was just 3, when his eyes started floating from side to side.  Literally from nowhere-one day his sight was fine and then next day he couldn’t control his vision.  We took him to the doctor straight away and fortunately it was an issue easily corrected with glasses and a patch.  Even though I was scared witless, I was glad that I knew what to be aware of.
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  Approximately 90% of childhood cancers are due to environmental factors and studies have fingered things like pesticide exposure in the womb.  The mechanisms for these factors we do not fully understand and so much about this disease is unknown.  If there is one thing you should take away from this month, let it be the ability to to spot its malignant presence.

  1. David Haas
    01-06-2012 at 8:11 pm

    I have a question about your blog. Please email me!