Denver — A diagnosis of cancer in a child affects more than a family, it affects a community. Every year, thousands of children are diagnosed with some form of cancer. This month Buddy Check9 focuses on childhood cancer to bring awareness of the types, signs, symptoms and resources.

Cancers that develop in children can often be different from those found in adults. Childhood cancers are not necessarily linked to environmental or lifestyle risk factors. These cancers are often the result of DNA changes in the cells early in life.

Awareness

The most common types of cancer found in children are:

• Bone cancer (including Ewing sarcoma and osteosarcoma)

• Retinoblastoma

• Rhabdomyosarcoma

• Lymphoma (including Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin)

• Wilms tumor

• Neuroblastoma

• Brain and spinal cord tumors

• Leukemia

Signs and symptoms

Cancers in children can be hard to recognize because early symptoms may be similar to symptoms caused by other common injuries or illnesses. It’s important to take a child to a physician if they have unusual symptoms or signs that do not go away. These symptoms may include:

• An unusual lump or swelling

• Unexplained paleness and loss of energy

• Bruising easily

• Ongoing pain in one area of the body

• Limping

• Unexplained fever or illness that doesn’t go away

• Frequent headaches, often with vomiting

• Sudden eye or vision changes

• Sudden unexplained weight loss

Statistics

About 10,300 children were diagnosed with cancer in the US in 2016, and approximately 1 in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 20. More than 80 percent of children with cancer now survive five years or more thanks to major treatment advances in recent decades. Survival rates have increased since the mid-1970’s. The 5-year survival rates then were 58 percent.

Research

Cancer knows no age limits, and a cancer diagnosis in a child can be emotionally devastating. The American Cancer Society is committed to making advances in prevention and treatments that will help every child with cancer.

Thank you to the Colorado Cancer Coalition for information that was used in this article. The Colorado Cancer Coalition is a statewide collaborative working to eliminate the burden of cancer in Colorado. Our task forces and members work together to improve the life of all Coloradans touched by cancer. To learn more go to http://www.coloradocancercoalition.org. The Colorado Cancer Coalition is a sponsored project of the Trailhead Institute, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the public's health and the environment in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region.

Thank you to the American Cancer Society for contributing information that was used in this article. For cancer information and resources, contact the American Cancer Society 24 hours a day at 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org. The Society’s mission is to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer.