Cancer in Children
Cancer develops when a change in the DNA transforms a normal cell into a malignant one.
The mechanisms that facilitate this genetic alteration are complex and not well understood. Sometimes, in specific cases, the existence of physical, chemical or biological environmental factors may cause a lesion.
In recent decades the advances in diagnosis and treatment of related illnesses have greatly increased a child’s possibility of survival. Cancer, however, continues to be the second cause of death in children under 15 – only outnumbered by accidents.
In the 1950’s the cure rate for cancer was no more than 20%. Today, 75% of cases reported globally are considered curable, especially when the illness is diagnosed at an early stage.
The occurence of different types of cancer related illnesses varies with age. The most frequent are leukaemia, brain tumours, lymphomas, bone tumours and thyroid carcinomas.
The general processes for dealing with tumours is as follows:
The first year after the end of the treatment is the time when a patient is most likely to suffer a relapse. For this reason the child must submit to clinical, analitical and radiological tests. After the first year the possibilty of a relapse diminishes but continues to exist. For this reason testing is carried out during the next five years - albeit less frequently.
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