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Guardians’ Guide: Unveiling the Signs and Symptoms of Paediatric Cancer in Kids

Cancer In Children

Pediatric Cancer Diagnosis: Unveiling the Hidden Dangers for Children

Pediatric cancer poses a severe threat to children worldwide, with statistics from the World Health Organization revealing approximately 400,000 new cases annually. Dr. R.M. Lakshmikanth, Senior Histopathologist at Metropolis Healthcare, Chennai, emphasizes the life-altering impact of this disease on numerous children.

The Peril of Pediatric Cancer

Current Trends

Despite an 80% chance of treating pediatric cancer, challenges arise due to late diagnosis, misdiagnosis, and treatment interruptions. Leukemia (24.7%), tumors and nervous system issues (17.2%), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (7.5%), Hodgkin lymphoma (6.5%), and soft tissue sarcoma (5.9%) are the most common cancers in children and adolescents.

Diagnostic Challenges

Identifying Pediatric Cancer

Various samples, including blood, serum, body fluids, and tissues, are crucial for detecting pediatric cancer. This diagnostic process aims to determine the cancer type and assess its severity, facilitating effective therapeutic strategies.

Leukemia Diagnosis

For leukemia, peripheral smear or bone marrow aspiration is performed, followed by flow cytometry using fluorescence-labeled antibodies. This technique helps identify antigens in tumor cells and provides insights into the tumor’s type.

Solid Tumor Diagnosis

Solid tumors undergo image-guided biopsy, followed by histopathological examination and immunohistochemistry. In some cases, doctors evaluate antigens expressed in tumor cells.

Pathogenesis of Pediatric Tumors

The pathogenesis of pediatric tumors differs from that in adults, originating primarily from a single genetic driver event. The current molecular classification emphasizes the uniqueness of pediatric tumors.

Importance of Genetic Alteration Studies

The study of genetic alterations is crucial for a comprehensive tumor diagnosis. Various techniques are employed:

Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH)

FISH helps identify translocations in genetic material.

Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR)

RT-PCR detects fusion genes and specific point mutations.

Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)

NGS allows for the study of genetic alterations at a broader level.

In addition, serum tumor markers like AFP, Beta HCG, and Urine VMA play a role in the diagnostic process.

In the realm of pediatric cancer, understanding the nuances of diagnosis is imperative for effective treatment. Genetic alterations, molecular classifications, and advanced diagnostic tools are integral in ensuring accurate identification and subsequent therapy.