How Common is Childhood Cancer … and What Symptoms Should You Look Out For?

According to the WHO, cancer accounted for over 10 million deaths globally in 2020 alone, translating to nearly one in six deaths.

While most people see cancer as a set of diseases affecting adults, the truth is that cancer affects children too. Luckily cancer is treatable, especially if detected early. 

This post focuses on cancer causes, from its prevalence to the signs to look out for.

How Common Is Cancer in Children

Cancer causes much suffering for patients, and no parent wants to imagine their child going through such pain. While most people would love to think of it as a condition affecting adults, many children are diagnosed with cancers yearly. 

According to Children’s Cancer Cause, one in every 285 children will develop cancer before celebrating their 20th birthday. In 2018 alone, over 17290 children had a cancer diagnosis, accounting for 47 diagnoses each day. 

Childhood cancer is not a single disease; it’s a blanket term covering wide cancer variants and the over 100 subtypes of the cancers.

Some common pediatric cancers include leukemia, brain/CNS cancer, and malignant epithelial neoplasms and melanomas at a prevalence rate of 28.1%, 26.5%, and 23.3%, respectively. Brain/CNS tumors have also been seen to have a high prevalence among teens.

Signs of Cancer in Children

Sometimes cancer symptoms can present as other ailments making it hard to detect at first. Also, no parent or guardian will be quick to think that a child has cancer. However, some symptoms should raise a red flag and warrant professional help as soon as possible, especially if the symptoms fail to resolve for a long time. 

Signs that could require professional investigation include:

  • Unusual swelling or lumps
  • General loss of energy and paleness
  • Unexplained pain on one part of the body that does not go away
  • Easy bruising and bleeding
  • Unexplained fever that doesn’t heal with time
  • Frequent headaches
  • Unexplained weight loss

Cancer Misdiagnosis in Children

Because cancer symptoms can present as normal ailments, it is possible not to pay much attention. Unfortunately, taking a child to a doctor does not always mean that the doctor will make the right diagnosis.

When doctors fail to make the right diagnosis, they prescribe the wrong treatment and drugs, allowing cancer to deteriorate. Cancer deteriorates with time, meaning a misdiagnosis can significantly decrease the chances of beating it.

Steps to Take if Your Child Is Misdiagnosed With Cancer

If your child has been misdiagnosed by a doctor resulting in a deterioration of their condition, you may be eligible for compensation. The first thing you want after a cancer misdiagnosis causes harm to your child is to have them get the medical attention they need.  

Medical costs for treating advanced stages of cancer can be pretty high, sometimes out of reach for many people. So you may need to speak to a lawyer to help you get the rightful compensation for damages resulting from the misdiagnosis. 

A lawyer will first do a claim review and investigation before establishing your claim’s validity. If the case is worth pursuing, the lawyer will handle the technical legal aspects of your case as you focus on caring for your ailing child.

Proving Liability for a Misdiagnosis

Proving liability in a medical malpractice lawsuit often involves three main components of negligence. 

First, you must prove that there was a patient-doctor relationship between your child and the treating doctor, creating grounds for duty of care. The doctor must also have breached their duty to offer standard care. 

Lastly, the breach of care by the doctor must have resulted in harm to your child. Medical malpractice lawsuits have a pretty high standard of proving, often requiring working with expert witnesses and skilled lawyers.

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