The number of children suffering from cancer is still quite low because the occurrence of pediatric cancer itself is a very rare phenomenon. Nevertheless, the National Cancer Institute has confirmed that the number of children under the age of 19 that are suffering from pediatric cancer has risen by an alarming 27% since the year 1975. Leukemia, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and bone/muscle cancers are leading the chart at a time when adult cancer rates have fallen significantly since the 70s. This of course, leads us to the question, why is this happening?
Unfortunate as it is, more and more studies are clearly pointing towards the fact that most pediatric cancers are a result of genetic abnormalities than anything else. It seems that children who develop cancers in their early life are generally born with a genetic mutation or disorder that makes them more prone to developing cancers than other children. As of now, it is unknown how to stop such genetic anomalies from ever happening in the first place and a lack of sufficient funding in the department is not allowing the research to go as quickly as it should.
The environmental impact as a possible cause for a spike in the rate of pediatric cancer is suspected but it has not been sufficiently established yet. Nevertheless, the infamous situation in Fallon, Nevada, where 16 cases of pediatric leukemia was observed within the short period in between 1997 – 2002 was investigated and the scientists did draw a conclusion that the exposure to pesticides in the farm town and the presence of a nearby U.S. Navy training facility might have had a role to play.
The Deadly Combination
The rise of childhood cancers is most likely a result of increased carcinogenic chemicals in the environment and genetic changes. Unfortunately, though, the results from all the research done so far are not conclusive enough to discern the exact causes or how to avoid them.
A Few Precautions
While it isn’t possible to quite determine what might lead to cancer in children and therefore, preventive measures are mostly inexact, there are definitely precautions that every parent should take to reduce the chances. Take a look at some of the common precautions below.
- Do not smoke around children or pregnant women
- Stop smoking completely if you are pregnant
- Prohibit exposure to pesticides, insecticides, industrial disinfectants and other harmful chemicals
- Do a radiation inspection before buying any property
- Control their consumption of processed meat and dairy
As far as treatment is concerned, the methods of treating cancer in children are not that different from the ones used to treat adults, and in some cases, treating cancer successfully is possible when detected at an early stage. However, in order to find a real cure for pediatric cancer and cancer in general, we all need to contribute to a cure by coming together and funding the difficult and expensive research which is our only hope for ever finding a solution to the disease.