Cancer is very rare in children- but when it does occur, the most common form, called leukemia, affects the infection-fighting, white blood cells. The normal control mechanisms of the white blood cells break down and large numbers of abnormal white cells, called blast cells, are produced. These take over the bone marrow and then invade the blood system and vital organs.
What to look for
The symptoms of all acute forms of childhood leukemia are those of bone marrow failure. The list may include lack of energy and pallor from anaemia, persistent infections such as tonsillitis and ear infections, blood spots on the skin, unexplained bleeding and bruising, swollen lymph glands in the neck and groin, pain in the bones and joints and a swollen abdomen due to enlargement of the spleen.
Possible causes include exposure to certain chemicals and to radioactive leaks. One type of all may be caused by a virus similar to the one responsible for AIDS. Inherited factors and chromosomal abnormalities may also bear some responsibility.
When to seek further professional advice
If your child has the above symptoms or you think they might have Leukemia you should consult your doctor immediately.
Complementary therapies are being increasingly used alongside orthodox (traditional) treatment in major pioneering NHS oncology centers, but always in conjunction with orthodox cancer therapy.
Aromatherapy: can be supportive for both children and adults with cancer. However, the essential oils should be a humidifier which can pump them into the air of the environment. Massage should not be used with any cancer in it's early stages- particularly leukemia- as this may encourage the spread of the disease via the blood circulatory and lymphatic systems. Bergamot is uplifting and naouli helps to boost the immune system.
Homeopathy: A homeopath will probably prescribe specific remedies as well as constitutional treatment, to be taken alongside conventional medical treatment.
Other therapies include: Bach Flower Remedies and Spiritual Healing.
Most modern treatment programs last two three years. The treatment is in two phases:
The first phase lasts three to four weeks and is in hospital, where high doses of chemotherapy are given intravenously until the abnormal white 'blast' cells are destroyed. A combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy is then used to clear these from the central nervous system.
The second phase is a long one of oral treatment involving steroids, chemotherapy and sometimes preventative antibiotics to avoid possible infections attacking the child's weakened immune system. It is carried out at home, while the child continues to lead as normal a life as possible. When treatment has destroyed all the abnormal white cells, the child is said to have gone into remission.
The information contained in this Site/Service is not intended nor is it implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or taken for medical diagnosis or treatment.