Pediatric Cancer Survivors: Challenges and Opportunities

Cancer is a devastating disease that affects millions of people around the world. But for children and adolescents, cancer can have a lasting impact on their physical, mental, and social well-being. In this blog post, we will explore the challenges and opportunities that pediatric cancer survivors face, and how they can overcome them with the help of professional and academic support.

What is Pediatric Cancer?

Pediatric cancer is the term used to describe any type of cancer that occurs in children and adolescents under the age of 20. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are more than 100 types of pediatric cancer, ranging from leukemia and lymphoma to brain tumors and sarcomas. The most common types of pediatric cancer are:

  • Leukemia: A cancer of the blood cells that affects the bone marrow and the lymphatic system. Leukemia accounts for about 30% of all pediatric cancers.
  • Brain and spinal cord tumors: A cancer that starts in the central nervous system, which includes the brain and the spinal cord. Brain and spinal cord tumors account for about 26% of all pediatric cancers.
  • Lymphoma: A cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. Lymphoma can affect the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, tonsils, and other organs. Lymphoma accounts for about 8% of all pediatric cancers.
  • Neuroblastoma: A cancer that starts in the nerve cells of the adrenal glands, which are located on top of the kidneys. Neuroblastoma can also spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, liver, and skin. Neuroblastoma accounts for about 6% of all pediatric cancers.
  • Wilms tumor: A cancer that starts in the kidneys, which are the organs that filter the blood and produce urine. Wilms tumor can also spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, liver, and bones. Wilms tumor accounts for about 5% of all pediatric cancers.
  • Bone cancer: A cancer that starts in the bones, which are the hard tissues that support the body and protect the organs. Bone cancer can also spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, liver, and brain. Bone cancer accounts for about 4% of all pediatric cancers.
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma: A cancer that starts in the muscles, which are the tissues that help the body move and maintain posture. Rhabdomyosarcoma can also spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, lymph nodes, and lungs. Rhabdomyosarcoma accounts for about 3% of all pediatric cancers.

What are the Causes and Risk Factors of Pediatric Cancer?

The exact causes of pediatric cancer are not fully understood, but researchers believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a role. Some of the possible causes and risk factors of pediatric cancer are:

  • Genetic mutations: Changes in the DNA of the cells that cause them to grow and divide abnormally. Some genetic mutations are inherited from the parents, while others occur randomly during the development of the child. Some examples of genetic mutations that can increase the risk of pediatric cancer are Down syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, and neurofibromatosis.
  • Radiation exposure: Exposure to high doses of radiation, such as from X-rays, CT scans, or nuclear accidents, can damage the DNA of the cells and increase the risk of pediatric cancer. However, the risk from low doses of radiation, such as from natural sources or medical tests, is very low.
  • Exposure to chemicals: Exposure to certain chemicals, such as pesticides, solvents, or tobacco smoke, can also damage the DNA of the cells and increase the risk of pediatric cancer. However, the risk from low levels of exposure, such as from food or water, is very low.
  • Infections: Some infections, such as the Epstein-Barr virus, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or the human papillomavirus (HPV), can affect the immune system and increase the risk of pediatric cancer. However, the risk from these infections can be reduced by vaccination, prevention, or treatment.

What are the Symptoms and Diagnosis of Pediatric Cancer?

The symptoms of pediatric cancer vary depending on the type, location, and stage of the cancer. Some of the common symptoms of pediatric cancer are:

  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Fever or night sweats
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Headaches or vision problems
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Bone pain or fractures
  • Lumps or masses
  • Skin changes or rashes
  • Bleeding or bruising
  • Infections or anemia

If a child has any of these symptoms, it is important to consult a doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will perform a physical examination and ask about the child’s medical history and family history. The doctor may also order some tests, such as blood tests, urine tests, imaging tests, or biopsies, to confirm the diagnosis and determine the extent of the cancer. The diagnosis of pediatric cancer is based on the type, location, and stage of the cancer, as well as the age and general health of the child.

What are the Treatment and Prognosis of Pediatric Cancer?

The treatment of pediatric cancer depends on the type, location, and stage of the cancer, as well as the age and general health of the child. The main goals of treatment are to cure the cancer, prevent it from spreading, and minimize the side effects. The main types of treatment for pediatric cancer are:

  • Surgery: A procedure that removes the tumor and some surrounding tissue. Surgery is often used to treat solid tumors, such as brain tumors, bone tumors, or Wilms tumor.
  • Chemotherapy: A treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. Chemotherapy is often used to treat leukemia, lymphoma, neuroblastoma, or rhabdomyosarcoma.
  • Radiation therapy: A treatment that uses high-energy rays or particles to destroy cancer cells or shrink tumors. Radiation therapy is often used to treat brain tumors, bone tumors, or lymphoma.
  • Immunotherapy: A treatment that uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. Immunotherapy is often used to treat neuroblastoma, lymphoma, or leukemia.
  • Stem cell transplant: A treatment that replaces the damaged or destroyed bone marrow with healthy stem cells from the blood or bone marrow of the child or a donor. Stem cell transplant is often used to treat leukemia, lymphoma, or neuroblastoma.
  • Targeted therapy: A treatment that uses drugs or other substances to target specific molecules or genes that are involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells. Targeted therapy is often used to treat leukemia, lymphoma, or neuroblastoma.
  • Hormone therapy: A treatment that uses drugs or surgery to block or lower the levels of hormones that stimulate the growth of certain types of cancer cells. Hormone therapy is often used to treat Wilms tumor or rhabdomyosarcoma.

The prognosis of pediatric cancer depends on the type, location, and stage of the cancer, as well as the age and general health of the child. The prognosis is also influenced by the response to treatment and the risk of recurrence or secondary cancers. The prognosis is usually expressed as the five-year survival rate, which is the percentage of children who are alive five years after the diagnosis. According to the American Cancer Society, the overall five-year survival rate for children and adolescents with cancer is 85%, which means that 85 out of 100 children and adolescents with cancer are alive five years after the diagnosis. However, the five-year survival rate varies depending on the type of cancer, as shown in the table below:

Table

Type of CancerFive-Year Survival Rate
Leukemia89%
Brain and spinal cord tumors74%
Lymphoma90%
Neuroblastoma81%
Wilms tumor90%
Bone cancer70%
Rhabdomyosarcoma67%

What are the Challenges and Opportunities for Pediatric Cancer Survivors?

Surviving pediatric cancer is a great achievement, but it also comes with some challenges and opportunities. Some of the challenges and opportunities for pediatric cancer survivors are:

  • Physical health: Pediatric cancer survivors may experience late effects, which are health problems that develop months or years after the treatment. Some of the common late effects are premature aging, heart problems, infertility, growth problems, learning difficulties, and second cancers. Pediatric cancer survivors need to have regular follow-up care and screenings to monitor their health and prevent or treat any late effects. They also need to adopt a healthy lifestyle, such as eating well, exercising, avoiding smoking, and limiting alcohol.
  • Mental health: Pediatric cancer survivors may experience emotional and psychological issues, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, low self-esteem, or survivor guilt3. Pediatric cancer survivors need to seek professional help and support from their family, friends, or peers to cope with their feelings and emotions. They also need to engage in activities that make them happy, such as hobbies, sports, or volunteering.
  • Social life: Pediatric cancer survivors may face social challenges, such as isolation, bullying, stigma,
  • discrimination, or rejection. Pediatric cancer survivors need to build and maintain positive relationships with their family, friends, or peers who can understand and support them. They also need to join or create support groups, networks, or communities that can provide them with information, resources, or opportunities.
  • Education and career: Pediatric cancer survivors may face academic and professional challenges, such as learning difficulties, school absenteeism, low achievement, discrimination, or unemployment. Pediatric cancer survivors need to pursue their educational and career goals with the help of their teachers, counselors, or mentors. They also need to seek or create educational and career opportunities that can enhance their skills, knowledge, or experience.

How Can Custom University Papers Help Pediatric Cancer Survivors?

One of the educational and career opportunities that pediatric cancer survivors can benefit from is Custom University Papers, a professional and academic writing service that can help students and professionals with their homework, assignments, essays, dissertations, research papers, and more. Custom University Papers can help pediatric cancer survivors in the following ways:

  • Quality: Custom University Papers provides high-quality writing services that meet the standards and requirements of any academic or professional institution. Custom University Papers has a team of qualified and experienced writers who can handle any topic, subject, or level of difficulty. Custom University Papers also has a quality assurance team that checks and edits every paper for plagiarism, grammar, spelling, and formatting.
  • Timely: Custom University Papers delivers every paper on time, no matter how urgent or complex it is. Custom University Papers has a 24/7 customer support team that can communicate with the clients and the writers at any time. Custom University Papers also has a flexible revision policy that allows the clients to request for free revisions until they are satisfied with the paper.
  • Affordable: Custom University Papers offers affordable writing services that suit the budget and needs of any client. Custom University Papers has a transparent pricing system that depends on the type, level, length, and deadline of the paper. Custom University Papers also has a discount program that rewards loyal and new clients with lower prices and free features.

Conclusion

Pediatric cancer survivors are a special group of people who have overcome a life-threatening disease and have a lot to offer to the world. However, they also face some challenges and opportunities that affect their physical, mental, and social well-being. Pediatric cancer survivors need to have regular follow-up care and screenings, adopt a healthy lifestyle, seek professional help and support, build and maintain positive relationships, join or create support groups, networks, or communities, pursue their educational and career goals, and seek or create educational and career opportunities. One of the educational and career opportunities that pediatric cancer survivors can benefit from is Custom University Papers, a professional and academic writing service that can help them with their homework, assignments, essays, dissertations, research papers, and more. Custom University Papers provides high-quality, timely, and affordable writing services that meet the standards and requirements of any academic or professional institution. Custom University Papers can help pediatric cancer survivors achieve their academic and professional success and happiness.

References

: National Cancer Institute. (2020). Childhood Cancers. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/types/childhood-cancers :

American Cancer Society. (2020). Survival Rates for Childhood Cancers. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-in-children/survival-rates.html :

Children’s Oncology Group. (2020). Long-Term Follow-Up Guidelines for Survivors of Childhood, Adolescent, and Young Adult Cancers. Retrieved from https://www.survivorshipguidelines.org/ :

Custom University Papers. (2020). About Us. Retrieved from https://customuniversitypapers.com/about-us/