September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
No one likes to think that their child will develop cancer and thankfully this is a situation few parents will face. Childhood cancer is rare but many forms of childhood cancer present with symptoms similar to other common childhood illnesses and can easily be missed, early detection of childhood cancer is crucial as it saves lives.
Childhood cancer is an umbrella term which refers to cancers that develop in childhood rather than one specific kind of cancer. Leukaemia is the most common form of childhood cancer, accounting for 30% of cases . The most common form of leukaemia diagnosed in children is acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Other kinds of childhood cancer include:
The symptoms of childhood cancer can be quite generic and be confused with something else. Early diagnosis of cancer saves lives, if your child is displaying any of these symptoms it is best to discuss them with your GP but please remember it is unlikely that your child has cancer.
Cord blood is often used in the treatment of childhood cancer and is often the preferred source of stem cells. Where a child in the family is diagnosed with cancer, a sibling’s cord blood could provide the child with a stem cell match, and is more likely to provide a match than cord blood from a public bank.