Things to know about lung cancer in children
Lung cancer is a type of cancer that could begin in any part of the lungs. The most common type of lung cancer is non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which accounts for about 85% of all lung cancers. The other type is small cell lung cancer (SCLC), which accounts for about 15% of lung cancers.
The treatment of lung cancer is widely used to save many lives as there are several options to treat cancer. The lung cancer treatment cost in India is cheaper than other developed countries while not compromising on the quality of treatment.
Symptoms of lung cancer can include a persistent cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, hoarseness, and weight loss. However, many people with lung cancer do not have any symptoms in the early stages of the disease.
Risk factors for lung cancer include smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, exposure to certain chemicals and toxins, radon exposure, and a family history of lung cancer.
Treatment for lung cancer depends on the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health. Treatment options for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Treatment options for small cell lung cancer (SCLC) include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and other newer treatments are also available for lung cancer.
Prognosis for lung cancer varies depending on the stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis, as well as the patient’s overall health. It is important to catch lung cancer early as it has a high mortality rate.
Preventative measures include quitting smoking, avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke, and getting screened for lung cancer if you are at high risk.
Lung cancer in children
Lung cancer in children is a rare but serious condition. Symptoms may include coughing, chest pain, and difficulty breathing. Treatment options may include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. The cause of lung cancer in children is not well understood, but some risk factors may include exposure to secondhand smoke, radiation, and certain genetic conditions. It is important for any child displaying symptoms to be evaluated by a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.
Causes of lung cancer in children
The cause of lung cancer in children is not well understood. However, some risk factors that have been identified include:
- Exposure to secondhand smoke: Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke have an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
- Radiation: Children who have been exposed to radiation have a higher risk of developing lung cancer.
- Genetic conditions: Certain genetic conditions, such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome and Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, can increase a child’s risk of developing lung cancer.
- Environmental exposure: Children who are exposed to certain chemicals and pollutants in the environment may also have an increased risk of lung cancer.
It’s important to note that most lung cancer cases in children occur in the absence of these risk factors, and more research is needed to determine the cause of this rare disease.
Symptoms of lung cancer in children
Symptoms of lung cancer in children can be similar to those of other respiratory illnesses and may include:
- Persistent coughing, which may be accompanied by chest pain or discomfort
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Fatigue or weakness
- Rapid breathing or wheezing
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- Hoarseness or changes in the voice
- Swelling in the face, neck, or upper body
- Recurrent lung infections, such as pneumonia or bronchitis
It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions and should be evaluated by a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis. A chest X-ray, CT scan, MRI or biopsy may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis of lung cancer in children.
Treatment of lung cancer in children
Treatment for lung cancer in children typically involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. The specific treatment plan will depend on the stage and type of cancer, as well as the child’s overall health and medical history.
Surgery: Surgery is often the first line of cancer treatment for lung cancer in children. The goal of surgery is to remove as much of the cancer/tumor as possible by surgical interventions. Depending on the location and size of the tumor, the surgery may involve removing a portion of the lung or the entire lung.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells by interrupting the process of division in cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs are usually given through an IV and can be administered in a hospital or clinic. The drugs travel through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells all over the body.
Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells by damaging the DNA of cancer cells leading to cell death. Radiation therapy is usually given on an outpatient basis and typically takes place over several weeks.
Proton therapy: Proton therapy is a type of radiation therapy that uses protons instead of x-rays to treat cancer. It’s thought to be less harmful to surrounding healthy tissue, and is used to treat tumors in children, especially those in the brain and spine.
Clinical trials: For children with lung cancer, the treatment options are limited, therefore some children may be eligible for a clinical trial which may offer the most promising treatments available.
It’s important to note that lung cancer in children is a rare disease, and treatment plans are tailored to the individual patient and their specific case. It’s important to work closely with a pediatric oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating cancer in children, to determine the best course of treatment.