The incidence of childhood cancers has been increasing in recent years. One of the most common types of cancer in children is leukemia, which is commonly known as blood cancer. Since the symptoms in leukemia can be confused with other pediatric diseases, being late in the diagnosis can cause serious consequences. Infections, genetic and environmental factors are effective, leukemia can be completely treated with early diagnosis and effective methods.
Leukemia is the most common in children
Considering all childhood cancers, it is seen that approximately 30 percent of the diseases are leukemia. In a population of one million people, the number of new cancers is 120 each year. Since 30 percent of this will be leukemia, 40 children in a population of one million get leukemia every year. Although there are extensive clinical findings of childhood cancers, research should be conducted with suspicion of some symptoms. These symptoms can be listed as follows:
- Rapid weight loss
- Faded in color
- Persistence of gradual enlargement of bruises or unexpected glands on the body for a long time
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Joint pain
- Persistent fever that lasts for a long time and lasts over 5 days
Watch out for kindergarten and school infections!
The immune system of babies from their mothers after birth continues for about 6-8 months. After this period, the child starts to form his own immune system. Since the immune system of children is not fully established until the age of 2, they get infections at least 5 times a year. Especially children of nursery age get sick much more often. It should not be forgotten that viral infections trigger cancer.
Vitamin D deficiency causes cancer
Vitamin D deficiency is shown as one of the important culprits of childhood cancers. Many studies are showing that early rickets and vitamin D deficiency are effective on cancer. For this reason, children should definitely be exposed to the sun at the times and weather conditions recommended by the experts. Also, some genetic disorders from the family or the activation of cancer genes due to infections are important factors. Childhood cancers are often seen between the ages of 2-5 or 5-10.
Other causes of cancer
- Use of technological devices such as tablets and mobile phones by children for long hours
- Air pollution
- Food additives
- Rotten foods
The blood count is sufficient for diagnosis
Leukemia affects the reproduction and function of blood cells. Stem cells in the bone marrow mature and turn into erythrocytes, leukocytes, or thrombocytes. In this disease, leukemic cells (blasts) multiply uncontrollably and the development of normal blood cells is suppressed. Failure to produce normal blood cells leads to serious symptoms such as infection and bleeding. In line with the complaints of the patients, blood and bone marrow tissue samples are taken and examined for diagnosis. Usually, a simple blood count and examination of the cells in the blood under a microscope is also sufficient for diagnosis. However, the definitive diagnosis is bone marrow examination.
Early diagnosis is of great importance
Leukemias are divided into acute lymphoblastic and myeloblastic leukemia. Approximately 95% of leukemias are acute leukemias. 85% of these acute leukemias are acute lymphoblastic and 15% are myeloblastic leukemia. Among these, a more positive response is obtained in terms of treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemias. Also, since the life expectancy in children is longer, early diagnosis and treatment are of great importance because of higher success rates compared to adult cancers.
Treatment success rates are extremely high
Leukemia treatment is done with chemotherapy drugs. Medications may differ depending on the type of leukemia. The type, dose, and route of administration of the drugs to be used are determined by the physician who will do the treatment. The chemotherapy period usually takes 24 months. While bone marrow transplantation is the first option in the treatment of some types, in others it stands out as a method that should only be applied if the disease recurs. The success rates achieved in the treatment of leukemia in our country are at world standards with both chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation.