Leukemia, which is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood, is the most common childhood cancer. It accounts for about 30% of all cancers in children, as suggested by the American Cancer Society.
Dispelling myths that cancer in children is not curable, Dr. Gouri Shankar Bhattacharya, Fortis Hospitals Anandapur on February 15th which is internationally observed as “Childhood Cancer Day”, said that with early detection and proper treatment, cancer in children is curable and the child can go on to lead a healthy life.
An approximate number of 46,000 to 1,46,000 children in India are affected by cancer every year. Childhood cancer comes with a lot of problems, the major one being ignorance about the disease and its symptoms. Next is the fear associated with the name ‘cancer’ and lastly, lack of knowledge about how proper treatment can be acquired. In this context Dr. Gouri Shankar Bhattacharya said, “The mother is the best detector because she knows her child best”.
Early symptoms of childhood cancer include continued and unexplained weight loss, early morning headaches, increased swelling in bones and joints, lump or mass formation in the abdomen, neck, chest or armpits, excessive bleeding or bruising, constant infections, persistent nausea, fever and vomiting, whitish color behind the pupil.
Childhood cancer is the biggest disease killer of children in the US and worldwide. 70%-90% childhood cancers are curable in the developing countries. Sadly, in India as many as 80% children do not survive.
“There are twelve major types of cancer that may affect the bones, muscle, blood, kidney, brain or even the eyes, whereas lung, breast, colon are the cancers which commonly occur in adults” says Dr. Gouri Shankar Bhattacharya.
Fortis Hospital, Anandapur made an awareness programme on this day where Dr. Dr. Gouri Shankar Bhattacharya gave a lecture to teachers and parents of Calcutta International School, on childhood cancer and cancer awareness on how to combat the deadly disease.