Category Archives: Types of Cancer

Neuroblastoma


Neuroblastoma

Neuroblastoma occurs when malignant cancer cells form in the specialised nerve cells of the sympathetic nervous involved in the development of the nervous system and other tissues.

Neuroblastoma most commonly occurs in one of the adrenal glands situated in the tummy or in the chest, neck, abdomen, pelvis or the nerve tissue that runs alongside the spinal cord. The adrenal glands are specialised glands that release hormones that help the body respond to stress and maintain blood pressure.

Neuroblastoma may be present at birth, but generally presents in early childhood, before the age of 5 years. In most cases, by the time it is diagnosed the cancer has usually already spread to areas outside of the original site, often to the lymph nodes, bones, bone marrow, liver, and skin.

Approximately 25% of newly diagnosed neuroblastomas are in children under the age of 1 year, and for some reason this age group has the best cure rate, at 90%.

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Rhabdomyosarcoma


Rhabdomyosarcoma

Sarcomas are rare types of cancer that develop in the supporting tissues of the body.

There are two main types:

  • Bone Sarcomas
  • Soft Tissue Sarcomas

Rhabdomyosarcoma is a soft tissue cancer that develops in the soft tissue of striated muscles, which are the muscles that are attached to bones and help the body to move.

Rhabdomyosarcoma accounts for about 50% of soft tissue sarcomas in children and can begin in various places in the body.

Rhabdomyosarcoma is mostly found in children under the age of 10 and occurs in more boys than girls. If the tumour occurs in the head or neck area it may spread to the brain or the fluid surrounding the spinal cord.

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Retinoblastoma


Retinoblastoma Awareness Ribbon

Retinoblastoma is a type of eye cancer that develops in the light-sensitive lining of the eye, called the retina.

Retinoblastoma can occur at any age but mainly occurs in children younger than 5 years of age and most often in those younger than 2.

Retinoblastoma may occur in one or both eyes, but rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Although it is the most common eye tumour in children, it is a rare childhood cancer and accounts for about 3-4% of childhood cancers.

There are 2 Types of Retinoblastoma:

  • Inherited: Retinoblastoma is sometimes inherited from the parent; this is known as hereditary or germline retinoblastoma and is usually bi-lateral (in both eyes).
  • Non-Inherited: This type of Retinoblastoma generally occurs in only one eye (unilateral)

The main challenge of treating Retinoblastoma is the prevention of blindness, however approximately 98% of children with retinoblastoma are cured.

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Osteosarcoma


Osteosarcoma

Sarcomas are rare types of cancer that develop in the supporting tissues of the body.

There are two main types:

  • Bone Sarcomas
  • Soft Tissue Sarcomas

Osteosarcoma is a bone cancer which makes up about 5% of Childhood Cancers.

Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma (MFH) of the bone is a rare tumour of the bone, and is treated in the same way as osteosarcoma.

Osteosarcoma (also called osteogenic sarcoma) is the most common type of bone cancer and starts in the osteoblasts, which are the bone cells at the end of the long bones where new bone tissue forms as a young person grows.

Types of Osteosarcoma:

  • Periosteal Osteosarcoma
  • Parosteal sarcoma of bone
  • Telangiectatic Osteogenic Sarcoma
  • Small Cell Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is most prevalent in teenagers, and most often forms in the bones near the knees of children and teenagers or in the bones surrounding the shoulder joints.

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Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL)


Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma Awareness Ribbon

Lymphomas are cancers that develop when malignant cells infiltrate the lymphatic system. Childhood Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) develops in the lymph system, which is an integral part of the body’s immune system.

Lymphomas are divided into two basic types:

  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

NHL is the more common lymphoma in children; it is uncommon in children under the age of 10, but when it does, it is more common in boys than in girls.

There are four major types of childhood Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The specific type of lymphoma is determined by how the cells look under a microscope.

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Hodgkin’s Lymphoma


Hodgkins Lymphoma Awareness Ribbon

Lymphomas are cancers that develop when malignant cells infiltrate the lymphatic system.

Childhood Hodgkin’s Lymphoma develops in the lymph system, which is an integral part of the body’s immune system.

Lymphomas are divided into two basic types:

  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Lymphomas can start anywhere within the lymphatic system, but Hodgkin’s Lymphoma generally starts in the lymph nodes in the neck and more often in teenagers between 15 and 19 years of age.

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Hepatoblastoma


Hepatoblastoma Awareness Ribbon

Hepatoblastoma is a solid tumour cancer that develops in the soft tissue of the liver and accounts for almost half of liver cancers in children.

The liver is situated in the upper part of the abdomen and is the largest organ in the abdomen. The liver is very important as it performs vital bodily functions such as producing proteins that circulate in the blood. Some of these proteins are essential for maintaining the balance of bodily fluids and others help the blood clot and prevent excessive bleeding. The liver also breaks down waste products not used by the body and destroys harmful substances.

Types of Childhood Liver Cancer:

  • Hepatoblastoma: This type of liver cancer generally occurs in children younger than 3 years of age and affects slightly more boys than girls.
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma: This liver cancer mostly affects older children.

Hepatoblastoma is a primary liver cancer, which means that it starts in the liver.

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Ewing Sarcoma


Ewing’s Sarcoma

Sarcomas are rare types of cancer that develop in the supporting tissues of the body.

There are two main types: Bone Sarcomas and Soft Tissue Sarcomas.

Ewing’s sarcoma is a bone cancer (although it can also very rarely develop in the soft tissue) and is the second most common primary sarcoma that can develop in children, comprising 10-15% of childhood bone cancers.

Ewing’s sarcoma is not very common in younger children; it occurs mostly in the teenage years and is slightly more prevalent in boys.

The Ewing’s family of tumours:

  • Ewing’s sarcoma of bone
  • Extraosseous Ewing’s – a tumour outside of the bone
  • Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumour (PNET)
  • Askin’s Tumour (PNET of the chest wall).

Ewing’s sarcoma occurs most commonly in the ribs, pelvis, chest, long bones of the legs and arms, skull, and vertebral column (spine). Extraosseous Ewing Sarcoma appears in the soft tissue of the arms, legs, trunk, head, neck, abdominal cavity, or other areas.

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Brain Cancer


Brain Cancer Awareness Ribbon

Brain tumours can be either primary (develop in the brain) or secondary (cancer from another part of the body spreads to the brain).

A primary brain tumour occurs when abnormal cells form in the tissues of the brain.

Brain tumours are the most common type of tumour that develops in children, and they can affect children of any age.

The brain and spinal cord are closely linked and together they form the Central Nervous System (CNS). The spinal cord connects the brain with nerves in virtually every part of the human body. The brain controls many vital bodily functions.

The brain consists of three major parts:

  • The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain. It sits at the top of the head and controls learning, emotions, thinking, speech, reading, writing, and voluntary movement.
  • The cerebellum is the lower back part of the brain and lies near the middle of the back of the head. It controls balance, movement and posture
  • The brain stem is the lowest part of the brain and is situated just above the back of the neck. It connects the brain to the spinal cord and controls heart rate, breathing, and all the muscles you use to walk, talk, hear, see, and eat

Malignant brain tumours grow rapidly and are likely to spread into other areas of the brain very quickly. When a tumour grows into or creates pressure on part of the brain it may cause that part of the brain to stop functioning the way it should.

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Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)


Acute Myeloid Leukaemia Awareness Ribbon

Leukaemia is a cancer that occurs when abnormal blood stem cells (immature white blood cells) are produced in the bone marrow. Normally white cells develop, repair and reproduce in an orderly fashion.

The leukaemia cells do not mature, and therefore are not able to function as immune cells, but they keep on dividing in the bone marrow.

The two most common types of leukaemia found in children are Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) and Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). Leukaemia accounts for about 35% of all childhood cancers. Acute cancers get worse very quickly if they are not diagnosed and treated.

All blood cells are made in the bone marrow which contains:

  • Red blood cells: They carry oxygen around the body
  • White blood cells: They help the body fight infection
  • Platelets: They help the blood clot and control bleeding

Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) is also known as Acute Nonlymphocytic Leukaemia, Acute Myeloblastic Leukaemia, Acute Granulocytic Leukaemia, or Acute Myelogenous Leukaemia.

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