Although cancer in children is a rare disease, it is responsible for the majority of deaths among children and adolescents from 1 to 19 years of age, around 8% of the total, according to the José Alencar Gomes da Silva National Cancer Institute (Inca).
“It is the leading cause of death from disease in Brazil and in developed countries. It (cancer) is second only to external causes, such as trauma, and other external agents”, said Flávia Martins, oncologist and member of the board of directors of the Brazilian Society of Pediatric Oncology (Sobope), in an interview with Agência Brasil.
The three most common types of cancer among children and young people, in order of frequency, are leukemias, tumors in the Central Nervous System (CNS) and lymphomas.
Dr. Flávia Martins recommends that, in order to make an early diagnosis, it is necessary to pay attention to the child and what the parents say, as there are different times of diagnosis. The first ones consist of the recognition of symptoms by the parents and non-specialized medical care for the child in a hospital, emergency room or Basic Health Unit (UBS). Then comes the complex service, with the final diagnosis.
The month of September is reserved for awareness and combating childhood cancer.
Statistics from the José Alencar Gomes da Silva National Cancer Institute (Inca) for the 2020/2022 triennium estimate 8,460 new cases of childhood cancers per year, 4,310 for males and 4,150 for females.