Worldwide, approximately, 2,15,000 cancers are diagnosed per year in Children less than 15 years age. Every year more than 45, 000 to 50,000 new pediatric cancer cases are getting registered in India (there may be some more un-diagnosed or unregistered cases). In west, it is leading cause of death after accidents, as infection related deaths are rare over there. Incidence of pediatric cancer is increasing in India as per National cancer registry Programme data (2009 to 2011 data Vs 2011 to 2014). However, the overall proportion of childhood cancer relative to cancers in all age groups has marginally reduced.
Yes, they are very well treatable. Outcomes of cancer mainly depends on staging of the Tumor in case of solid tumors and in case of Blood cancers it depends on whether it is high risk or low risk (as per risk stratification) .
With increasing usage of modern chemotherapy protocols in India along with good supportive care(with antibiotics, Blood products, Nutrition support , pain management and multidisciplinary approach) , advanced techniques in Surgery and Radiotherapy- majority of the Pediatric malignancies Like Acute leukemias, and early stage solid tumors carries excellent prognosis , resulting in 80% to 90 % longterm survival rates .
Most common pediatric cancer is acute leukemia (blood cancer in common language ), followed by CNS tumours , Lymphomas, Neuroblastomas (from nerve tissue), Bone tumors, Rhabdomyosarcoma (Muscle) and soft tissue sarcomas, Wilms Tumour (kidney) , Hepatoblastoma (liver) etc.
Symptoms of cancer depend on type of cancer. Most common cancer like acute leukemia presents with ongoing fever, bone pains or joint pains, bleeding evidence, pallor, liver and splenic enlargement, lymphadenopathy etc. However, some of these symptoms can also occur with other disorders, which doctor should be able to differentiate based on clinical examination, complete blood picture along with smear review. Solid tumours presents with symptoms depending on where they originate from, with pressure symptoms in surrounding areas. If required, one has to go for further tests like Biopsy of the tumor tissue, Bone marrow aspiration etc to confirm cancer.
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is done to treat various oncological , hematological,Metabolic and genetic conditions like
1. Relapsed or High-risk blood cancers (leukemia)
2. Stage IV or Relapsed solid tumours (neuroblastoma, brain tumours, lymphomas etc)
3. Transfusion dependent hemolytic anemia (like Thalassemia major etc)
4. Aplastic anemia (Marrow failure syndromes)
5. Primary immunodeficiency disorders
6. Genetic conditions/ Inborn errors of metabolism/storage disorders etc.
The goal of a stem cell transplant is to transfuse healthy bone marrow cells into child after unhealthy bone marrow / primary disease is suppressed with conditioning regimen.
BMT Unit at Rainbow Childrens hospital, Banjara hills, Hyderabad
Rainbow children’s hospital now has a state of art Pediatric Bone marrow transplant unit (BMTU).
Unit designed as per the latest technology and recommended norms:
Over last 10 years more than 950 malignancies (Hematological malignancies like ALL, AML and solid tumors) have been diagnosed and treated in Rainbow children’s hospital, Banjara Hills , Hyderabad. In addition to that, many hematological problems like Refractory anemias, Aplastic anemias, Bleeding diathesis , Immunodeficiencies, HLH and all get treated here .
With usage of modern chemotherapy regimens, good supportive care (antibiotics/ nutrition support/ blood product support/ effective pain relief) along with dedicated pediatric oncology nursing staff and doctors results in our Institutre are at par with western countries.
General population Myth is cancer is not curable and in children cancer doesn’t occur , however – both the beliefs are wrong. Cancer do occur in children, including neonates and majority of them are curable. At the same time people attribute cancers to be secondary to sins of family or individual, once again it is completely wrong .There is also a wrong belief by general population that by staying with cancer patient , they may also get cancer, which is also completely wrong.