90% cancer cases in kids can be treated if detected early: AIIMS
New Delhi: Around 90 per cent cases of cancer among children can be treated successfully if diagnosed early but late detection and limited awareness of these disease bring down the survival rate. Moreover, around 100 new cases of retinoblastoma, a kind of eye cancer, among the children being reported every year, however, it is treatable, if diagnosed early, doctor expressed their concern during a public lecture at All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS).
"Numerously, the parents fail to spot the symptoms which results in detection of cancer at later stage of the malignancy," said Dr Rachna Seth from the department of paediatrics at AIIMS. She stressed the need for spreading awareness among people about the fact that cancers can happen in childhood too and many of the serious cases can be avoided if diagnosed early.
Doctors said Retinoblastoma is a rare type of cancerous eye tumor that is most often found in children under the age of five. It is caused by the loss or mutation of a tumor suppressor gene. Usually patient suffers from symptoms like cat-eye refection, white gout, cloudiness with puffy eyes, blur vision and squint for over long period, they added.
During course of chemotherapy treatment in childhood cancer, there may be some late effects on patient's other body parts. Explaining these effects, Seth said "Parents are getting their children for their treatment as they are more aware about the cancer now as compared from the past. And we become more concern for the children after the complete diagnose of childhood cancer as after few years, there can be late effects of the chemotherapy on various body organs such as the heart, bone, growth and other hormonal changes."
Noting the rise in number of patients coming for treatment now, Sethi said around 300-350 children seek treatment at AIIMS annually. According to experts, high, persistent fever, weight loss, lump on any part of the body and any form of pain in the body should not be ignored as these could prove to be early signs of cancer.
The most common types of paediatric cancers include acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia or blood cancer, brain tumours, cancer of the kidney and Retinoblastoma or eye tumours, said another doctor of the premier health institute. "Due to lack of awareness among the parents in India, they bring their children only after observing something major in the eyes of their pupil," she said.
Late effect of the chemotherapy on various body organs is the second phase of the child which is called lifelong survivorship so the child should be kept under proper surveillance of doctors and parents, she added.