Blood cancer in kids: 10-year-old actor Rahul Koli was suffering from leukemia when he died on October 2, before the release of his film Chhellow Show, India’s official entry to the Oscars. While his family didn’t reveal a lot about the disease, his father said he kept vomiting profusely before he took his last breath. Childhood leukemia or blood cancer is the most common type of cancer found in teenagers and kids all across the world. While the treatment and the diagnosis at the right time are important and decide the fate of one’s health, children appear to be more receptive to such treatments than adults.Also Read – Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah Actress Disha Vakani Suffered Throat Issues Due to Dayaben Character's Peculiar Voice
WHAT IS BLOOD CANCER AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOUR BODY?
As described by the international cancer organisation, leukemia is cancer that affects your white blood cells, responsible for fighting infection and diseases. White blood cells are a major part of our body’s immune system. When these cells get affected, abnormal white cells are formed in the bone marrow which travels through the bloodstream and reaches the other parts of your body, pressurising the healthy cells. When these healthy cells turn abnormal, the body’s chances of attracting infection and diseases increase and it weakens. Also Read – Rahul Koli dies: 10-Year-Old Actor From Chhello Show, India's Official Entry to Oscars, Dies of Cancer
Kids and teens are considered to be stronger than adults to fight such infections. As the body is still learning to develop and combat any abnormality inside, young ones give a better response to cancer treatments. Also Read – Terminal Cancer Signs, Symptoms And Life Expectancy: Can it be Cured? All You Need to Know
BLOOD CANCER IN KIDS: RISK FACTORS
- Children generally don’t have any common risk factors unless an existing disease that your child’s body is already fighting. This may include health conditions by birth including common infections and immunity-related issues.
- The chances increase if there’s already someone who is suffering or has suffered from blood cancer in the family. This is called Li-Fraumeni Syndrome which means ‘hereditary cancer predisposition’. The risk of cancer in kids increases on the basis of the infected genes.
- If the child has been exposed to any sort of radiation therapy or excessive use of chemicals such as benzene during any treatment in the past, the risk of the body attracting blood cancer increases.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF BLOOD CANCER IN KIDS?
Most children and kids do not show any uncommon symptoms or signs while suffering from leukaemia. This is an immunity-related disease and the symptoms include everything that anyone with a compromised immune system experiences.
- Excessive fatigue: If your child feels tired all the time, or is unable to exert himself/ herself physically while playing with other kids, it could be a sign of an immune system that has been or is being attacked. Note that the child could not be doing anything to exert one’s body and would still be feeling weak. That’s unexplained fatigue and should be get checked.
- Bleedings or bruising: Kids grow up with all sorts of injuries – tiny ones that just fade away in a few days and some serious ones, that require a doctor’s attention. However, if you find your child bleeding everytime he/ she bumps into something or simply trips while playing with other kids, it could be a sign of a bigger problem.
- Infections and fever: This is a common symptom in all types of cancers in both kids and adults. If you are constantly experiencing fever and are troubled to see that nothing makes your child feel better, it’s time to seek more tests. Regular infections and fever that are not being cured through common medicines and multiple visits to a doctor should be checked right away.
- Shortness of breath or coughing: Unless your child has any lung-related issues, he or she shouldn’t be experiencing unexplained coughing or shortness of breath. If body exertion makes your child lose his/ her breath, this is the time to get some more tests done and rule out the risk of leukemia.
- There are other symptoms that are not common but can be experienced by a kid fighting blood cancer. These include gum problems, rashes on the body, constant weight loss, swelling in any part of the body that keeps coming back, joint pain, seizures, unexplained headaches, and regular vomiting.
Leading a good lifestyle and planning a healthy schedule for your child is the top priority for any parent today, especially in the delicate post-COVID times. Learn better, keep yourself informed, take time and search for your options and then act. Stay healthy!