Child Cancer Experts Stress on Early Identification of Symptoms for Better Outcomes

Over 50,000 children are afflicted by cancer every year in India

BENGALURU / February 14, 2024: The incidence of child cancer in India is approximately 38-124 per million children with over 50,000 children being diagnosed with the dreaded disease each year. This incidence has been increasing over the last two-three decades. This was said by cancer experts of Sammprada Hospital, a leading cancer hospital in Bengaluru.

Said Dr.Intezar Mehdi, Consultant Paediatrics Oncology and Hematalogy, Sammprada Hospital, Bengaluru: “In majority of cancer cases in children, the exact cause is not known. In a few cases, genetic, environmental and infections may play a role. The good news is that paediatric cancers cure rates are much better than cancer in adults as the disease biology is different. In the West, 80-85% of child patients of cancer are fully cured. In India, cure rates have been improving in the last couple of decades. To increase outcomes, it is important that symptoms are recognized early, and treatment begins the earlier possible.”

Talking about the serious signs and symptoms of cancer in children that parents should not ignore, he said: “Generally signs and symptoms of childhood cancer are non-specific and subtle. High index of suspicion is the key to early diagnosis. Parents should watch out for unexplained fever, weight loss and night sweats, glands in the neck, armpit or groin, headaches, vomiting and seizures or neurological problems, swelling in the abdomen or chest and bone pains and swelling, and bleeding or pallor. These symptoms may be early warning signs of cancer in children.”

Leukemia, lymphomas and brain tumors are the most common cancers in children. Wilms tumor, neuroblastoma, bone tumors, soft tissue tumors, and liver and eye tumors are other common ones.

Dr.Suma ,Consultant Paediatrics Oncology, Sammprada Hospital, Bengaluru ,There is a wide care gap between the availability of services in rural areas compared to urban areas. This gap needs to be bridged. Government schemes for treatment of child cancer are essential. Better collaboration between government and the private sector, as well as between state, national and international agencies would go a long way in improving the situation for children with cancer in the country. Philanthropic NGOs can play a big role in ensuring treatment for thousand child patients each year.”

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