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What cancers occur in childhood?

Although there are only 150 new cases of cancer for every million children each year, cancer is the second leading cause of childhood death. Leukemia (blood cancers), lymphomas (cancers in the blood and lymphatics) and central nervous system tumors (brain or spinal cord tumors) account for more than half of the new cases of cancer each year. Childhood cancer occurs more commonly in children with Down syndrome or other inherited conditions linked with increased cancer risks.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

While childhood cancers are rare in children under five, there are a few that can strike. You should let your parental instincts rule. If something doesn't seem right, then get it checked out. Some of them include:

  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (a blood cancer): Occurs mainly in one- to four-year-olds. Signs will be excess fatigue, irritability, pale complexion, and the tendency to bruise more easily than normal toddlers.
  • Retinoblastoma (an eye cancer): Kids with retinoblastoma have no red reflex in the affected eye (the red you see in flash photos). The child with retinoblastoma may have one red pupil, but the affected side will look white. That's called leukocoria.
  • Neuroblastoma (a nerve tissue cancer): Here a child may develop a new, wobbly gait (after walking well previously), or eyes that seem occasionally to really scramble.
If your child shows a combination of these signs, take him in to his pediatrician ASAP.
YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

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There’s little doubt that parenting can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences you’ll ever have. But it can be plenty tough, too: Around the clock, you’re working to keep your...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.