Children’s Cancer

What is cancer?

The body is made up of trillions of living cells. Normal body cells grow, divide to make new cells, and die in an orderly way. During the early years of a person’s life, normal cells divide faster to allow the person to grow. After the person becomes an adult, most cells divide only to replace worn-out or dying cells or to repair injuries. Cancer begins when cells in a part of the body start to grow out of control. There are many kinds of cancer, but they all start because of out-of-control growth of abnormal cells.

Cancer cell growth is different from normal cell growth. Instead of dying, cancer cells continue to grow and form new, abnormal cells. Cancer cells can also invade (grow into) other tissues, something that normal cells cannot do. Growing out of control and invading other tissues are what makes a cell a cancer cell.

Cells become cancer cells because of damage to DNA. DNA is in every cell and directs all its actions. In a normal cell, when DNA gets damaged the cell either repairs the damage or the cell dies. In cancer cells, the damaged DNA is not repaired, but the cell doesn’t die like it should. Instead, this cell goes on making new cells that the body does not need. These new cells will all have the same damaged DNA as the first cell does. People can inherit damaged DNA, but often the DNA damage is caused by mistakes that happen while a normal cell is reproducing or by something in our environment. In adults, sometimes the cause of the DNA damage is something obvious, like cigarette smoking. But often no clear cause is found.

In most cases the cancer cells form a tumor. Some cancers, like leukemia, rarely form tumors. Instead, these cancer cells involve the blood and blood-forming organs and circulate through other tissues where they grow.

Cancer cells often travel to other parts of the body, where they begin to grow and form  new tumors that replace normal tissue. This process is called metastasis. It happens when  the cancer cells get into the bloodstream or lymph vessels of our body.

Different types of cancer can behave very differently. They grow at different rates and  respond to different treatments. That is why children with cancer need treatment that is  aimed at their particular kind of cancer.

At Health Screenings 4 Life our educated staff and state of the art vascular and organ scanning equipment give us the expertise to catch any abnormality’s at early stages, allowing you or your child early detection gives you the time to take aggressive action.

What are the key statistics for childhood cancer? Childhood cancers make up less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed each year. About 10,450 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2014. Childhood cancer rates have been rising slightly for the past few decades. Because of major treatment advances in recent decades, more than 80% of children with cancer now survive 5 years or more. Overall, this is a huge increase since the mid-1970s, when the 5-year survival rate was about 60%. Still, survival rates vary depending on the type of cancer and other factors. Survival rates for different cancer types are listed in the section, “Surviving childhood cancer.” Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children (after accidents). About 1,350 children younger than 15 years old are expected to die from cancer in 2014.