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The most common types of cancer in children and adolescents

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Lymphoma

This cancer attacks the lymphatic system, a network of organs and tissues responsible for organic defense and carrying a fluid called lymph – one of the blood system components which is engaged in cellular nutrition.

Leukemia

A cancer that affects the white blood cells (leukocytes), which are also responsible for defending the body. This impairs the functioning of the bone marrow, which prevents the production of normal blood cells, causing problems such as anemia and bleeding and leaving the body defenseless against infections. Its incidence is 30 percent (which is high).
CNS tumor

This tumor is situated in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). Its incidence (25 percent) is second only to leukemia (30 percent). Symptoms depend on where the tumor is and its size. Generally the tumor obstructs the flow of brain fluid and causes increased intracranial pressure. This causes the patient to have severe headaches and vomiting.

Neuroblastoma

More common in children under five, neuroblastoma affects the peripheral nervous system. There may be lumps in the abdomen, neck or pelvis.

Wilms tumor

This tumor attacks the kidneys and is more common in children who are 2-4 years old.

Retinoblastoma

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Retinoblastoma begins in the retina and attacks the eye.

Osteosarcoma

This cancer attacks the bones, especially the area around the knee and is more common in adolescents younger than 15. It is an aggressive cancer and generally spreads to the lungs.

Soft tissue sarcoma

It is a connective tissue (muscles) tumor.

The good news is that currently about 70 percent of patients are cured through various treatment methods, and some cancers have a higher cure rate at 90 percent. Unfortunately, more aggressive types (which are less common) are still at 20 percent. However, whatever the type of cancer, early diagnosis is essential to healing.

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