Skip to Main Content

Early Diagnosis of Childhood Cancer Saves Lives

Read this article in Spanish.

Do you know the signs and symptoms of childhood cancer? Let's learn together. Early detection increases the chances of saving the lives of many children.

In childhood cancer, timely diagnosis and treatment are key to improving the chances of a cure. So, it’s important to be aware of  childhood cancer’s signs and symptoms.

The Pan American Health Organization, the Together by St. Jude™ online resource, and Childhood Cancer International have launched a communication campaign. We want everyone to know the early signs and symptoms of childhood cancer.

The effort aims to reduce the time to diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer patients. This will improve their chances of survival.

Common types of childhood cancer

There are many types of childhood cancer. Each has its own set of symptoms.

The most common types of cancer in children are:

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • Burkitt lymphoma
  • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Wilms tumor
  • Retinoblastoma
  • Low-grade glioma (brain tumor)

Together, they account for 50–60% of all childhood cancers worldwide.

I would need to listen carefully to what the child is expressing. Remember: Behind words or attitudes, there could be an illness that needs immediate attention.

Take note of changes

There are many signs and symptoms of childhood cancer. Listen carefully to what your child says and pay attention to their behavior. If you answer “Yes” to any of the following, call your child’s doctor right away:

  • Has the child lost appetite?
  • Does the child vomit or have headaches that won’t go away?
  • Does the child have bone pain?
  • Is the child always tired?

Be aware of changes in their body too:

  • A white pupil or a squint in the eye
  • Enlarged belly or any other part of the body
  • Bleeding from nose or gums that starts suddenly or won’t stop
  • Lumps or swelling (especially in the neck, armpit, or groin)
  • Bruising or a rash of small red or purple spots that can't be explained
  • Unexplained weight loss, fever, or night sweats
Do you notice any of these signs? Could be a sign or symptom of childhood cancer. If these symptoms are present refer for further examination. Together we can detect it on time!

Everyone can help detect childhood cancer early. Parents, caregivers, teachers, and care providers should heed the early signs and symptoms.

Watch this video to learn more.

And if you see any of these signs and symptoms in your child, talk to their doctor right away. Remember: Early detection saves lives.