Childhood cancer: Recognizing the signs and symptoms

While childhood cancer is relatively rare, it happens to about 16,000 kids in the U.S. each year. Thankfully, children are resilient; and when cancer is caught early, it’s very treatable. That’s why parents and others who care for children should know the warning signs and symptoms.

The symptoms of cancer in children may look like those caused by common illnesses or injuries. But when everyday bumps, bruises, headaches and pain don’t go away or seem to come up for no reason, it’s time to get them checked out by a medical provider.

Watch for these unusual symptoms in your child:

  • Unexplained, continuous weight loss
  • Headaches and vomiting, especially early in the morning
  • Swelling or pain in the bones, joints, back or legs that doesn’t go away
  • Lumps in the abdomen, neck, chest, pelvis or armpits
  • Unexplained bruises, bleeding or rashes
  • Infections that don’t go away or keep coming back
  • A whitish color in the eye, behind the pupil
  • Nausea (feeling sick to the stomach) that doesn’t go away or vomiting without nausea
  • Feeling tired all the time or looking very pale
  • Changes in the eyes or vision that happen suddenly or don’t go away
  • Unexplained or persistent fevers

If your child has one or more of these symptoms, speak with your child’s pediatrician immediately. Be sure to schedule regular medical checkups so the doctor knows about any changes in your child’s health.

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