Warning signs

Not only are the types of childhood cancers different from those in adults, but so are the treatment and survival rates (prognosis). Early detection and appropriate treatment are the most important steps to fighting and eliminating childhood cancer and saving thousands of children’s lives each year.

At least 85 per cent of childhood cancers are associated with the following warning signs:

• Unusual abdominal mass or swelling

• Prolonged and unexplained fever

• Pallor, loss of energy and rapid weight loss

• Unexplained and prolonged pain and headaches, often with vomiting

• Easy bruises and unexplained bleeding

• Sudden change in balance or behaviour

• Swollen head

• White glow in the eye

Since most symptoms of cancer can be interpreted as common ailments, parents should insist that physicians carry out tests to rule out cancer. Cancer in children develops rapidly and early diagnosis is the best possible help.