Are you worried that your child is losing weight for no apparent reason? Did you notice streaks of blood in his sputum while coughing? Well, if you can relate your child to the above situations it is time you gave lung cancer a thought.
Lung cancer in children is rare. One out of 300 boys and only one out of 333 girls can develop cancer by the age of 19. However, this does not rule out the fact that cancer is the second major cause of death in children. Want to know how to keep this dreadful disease at bay? Read on!
What Is Lung Cancer?
Cancer forms when normal cells change and grow uncontrollably in the body. In lung cancer, these cells form a mass called a tumor. A tumor in the lung can be benign or cancerous. A cancerous tumor is malignant and spreads to the rest of the body. A benign tumor does not spread to the other parts of the body.
[ Read: Throat Cancer In Children ]
Types Of Lung Cancer:
A study published in the 2008 issue of the Archives of Pathology and Pulmonary Medicine has found that primary lung tumors are rare in children. When epithelial cancer of the lungs occurs in children, it is usually of the advanced stage.
The common types of lung tumors include:
Rarer types of lung tumors include:
Parents may not know that their child is suffering from lung cancer until it has reached the fourth stage. The time it takes for lung cancer to reach stage four depends on many factors. In some children, the cancer develops within months and in others it may take years to develop. The good news is that childhood lung cancers are curable when detected at an early stage.
[ Read: Thyroid Cancer In Children ]
Can Kids Get Lung Cancer?
The answer is: maybe. Lung cancer is common in adult men and women but not kids. While childhood cancer is rare, it is still a possibility. So as a parent, it is important that you know about the symptoms and signs that indicate any kind of cancerous growth in the child.
Signs And Symptoms Of Lung Cancer In Kids:
- Watching out for the signs and symptoms of lung cancer on a regular basis is one way to ensure good health in your children. Your pediatrician may be an expert in his field, but he does not know your child as much as you do. Consult your pediatricians if your child shows the following symptoms:
- Streaks of blood in the sputum while coughing
- Difficulty in breathing
- Pain in the abdomen
- Swelling of the neck and face
- Persistent bouts of bronchiolitis
- Discomfort in the chest
- Weight loss
Childhood lung cancer spreads rapidly, but a quick diagnosis can increase the chances of survival in children. The diagnosis of lung cancer includes:
- Physical examination
- CT scans
- X-ray of the chest
- Biopsy (7)
- Molecular testing of the tumor
- Bronchoscopy (8)
- Sputum cytology
There is extensive research going on to discover effective treatments for lung cancer in children. The ongoing studies have improved the overall survival rate to more than 80%.
1. The treatment for children with lung cancer involves the complete removal of the tumor, the affected lobe of the lung or the entire lung. The surgery will depend on the type of tumor.
2. Radiation, in combination with chemotherapy and surgery, may also be given. Chemotherapy helps control the growth and spread of cancer cells.
3. Laser therapy can also be given to children. Laser therapy uses a focused beam of light to kill the cancerous cells in the lungs.
[ Read: Common Childhood Cancers ]
Prevention Of Lung Cancer:
To prevent lung cancer in child, certain measures can be taken. These include:
1. To reduce the risk of lung cancer in children, do not smoke in the presence of your children.
2. Children who are exposed to radon can also suffer from lung cancer. So, get your home tested for radon.
3. Improve the quality of air in your house by investing in an air filtering system.
4. Include antioxidant rich foods like fruits and vegetables in your baby’s diet.
Observe your child for a sudden change in health or behavior as mentioned above. Most of the symptoms may be attributed to the benign condition. Trust your instincts and work as a team with your doctor, to protect your child’s health.
We hope this article helped you obtain all the information required for lung cancer in children. Do you have any tips to prevent lung cancer in children? Then do share them with other mothers, in order to help them prevent this life threatening disease.
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