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International Childhood Cancer Day 2024: 10 common signs of cancer in children | Health


Childhood cancers can be extremely challenging considering they are difficult to screen and diagnose and the reasons are many a time unknown. As per WHO, some chronic infections, such as HIV, Epstein-Barr virus and malaria, are among the risk factors for childhood cancer. Every year, around 4 lakh children and adolescents up to the age of 19 develop cancer. The most common types of childhood cancers include leukaemia, brain cancers, lymphomas and solid tumours, such as neuroblastoma and Wilms tumour. Cancer is the leading cause of mortality in all age groups including children. Telltale signs of cancer in children should not be ignored. (Also read | International Childhood Cancer Day 2024: Date, history and significance; common types of childhood cancer)

International Childhood Cancer Day 2024: 10 signs of childhood cancer you shouldn't ignore(Freepik)
International Childhood Cancer Day 2024: 10 signs of childhood cancer you shouldn’t ignore(Freepik)

If your child is losing weight rapidly without any reason or is having recurrent issues like headache or pain and swelling in joints, feels tired often, complaining of headaches, facing vision issues, recurrent fevers over a long period of time, you should consult their doctor and get to the root of the problem. Early diagnosis of childhood cancers can increase chances of recovery.

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“Childhood cancer is not a rare entity. Everywhere 2 lakh children (aged below 18 years) are affected by different types of cancer. Cancer whether it is in children or in adolescents, give several signs which you should never ignore or overlook,” says Dr. Liza Bulsara, Consultant – Paediatrician, Hemato-oncology, Jupiter Hospital, Pune.

Signs of cancer in children you shouldn’t ignore

Dr Liza shares common signs of cancer in children that parents must make note of:

1. Weight loss: If your child has lost weight suddenly and the reason is not known then you should never take it lightly. You should take your kid to doctor and let the doctor diagnose him. Sometimes unexplained weight loss can be a symptom of cancer. If the weight loss is happening continuously then you should be more alert.

2. Headaches: If your child is complaining about headache in early morning then you should take caution because this is not normal especially if the child is vomiting too.

3. Swelling and pain in joints: If the child has reported that he/she is experiencing swelling or severe pain in joints, legs and upper limbs then you must take them to the doctor immediately.

4. Tiredness: If your child is suffering from low energy levels and always complains about being tired, there may be some underlying reason behind this tiredness.

5. Easily getting bruised: If your children get easily bruised, this may mean that the platelets in their body have reduced in numbers. Sometimes children can be seen having bleeding from nose and gums.

6. Problems related to vision: Vision problems may seem very normal because you can think that they are due to their weak eyesight. But still you should not ignore or overlook this issue especially if it has happened suddenly. Sometimes when a torch is flashed over their eyes, they might complain about vision problems.

7. Continuous fever: If your child is getting continuous fever for very long period of time or if it continues for more than a week and it’s not caused by any infection then immediate attention should be paid.

8. They start losing their skills: If your children start losing the skills already learnt by them, then this might be an alarm for you to become more attentive.

9. Pain in bones: If your child is having ache in bones then this might not be normal. You should check with your doctor and find out the cause.

10. Losing interest in everything including playing: Children love playing. If your child has lost interest in playing and prefer to stay at home all the time, then this is a warning sign. Immediate attention should be paid in this case.


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