1) Can cancer develop in children? At what age?
No age is free from cancer. Certain forms in cancer especially of the eyes and blood are most occasionally found in young children.
2) What is the reason for childhood cancer?
In majority of childhood cancers the cause is not known. Rarely certain viral infections, toxic chemical or radiation exposures contribute in the development of cancer in children. It is not a hereditary disease
3) If detected in time, can cancer in a child be cured more quickly than in an adult?
Age is no factor for cure of cancer, it depends upon the extent of growth at the time it is detected, and the adequacy of the treatment given as well as the type of cancer detected. Children tolerate cancer treatment better than adults.
4) How should cancer be treated?
By chemotherapy, surgery and radiation or a combination of all these in the earliest possible stage of the disease. Some children may need a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT).
5) Does cancer treatment cost more than other major diseases?
In most cases cancer treatment costs as much as treatment of other disease. Expenses depend upon the type of cancer and the type of treatment required.
6) Can you lead a normal life after cancer?
One of the major focus in cancer treatment is quality of life. Many patients return to normal lives after adequate treatment.
7) What are your chances of getting cured?
More than 80% of the patients treated adequately in the early stages can be cured. Chances of recovery are excellent; if the child is brought for treatment very early after cancer has arisen.
8) How can cancer deaths be reduced?
By four means:
1. Early diagnosis: the responsibility of the patient in having himself/herself regularly checked by a physician; and the responsibility of the physician in recognizing the possibility of cancer and referring for further diagnostic procedures and proper treatment.
2. Adequate and prompt treatment
3. Discoveries of newer and more effective means of treatment
4. The ultimate discovery of the various causes of cancer. These last two will come from research investigators.
9) Does cancer spread from one person to another?
No. there is no record of cancer having been spread by any contact, accidental or otherwise between one people to another one.
10) Is there any risk to the bone marrow (Stem cell) donor?
No. A normal individual has abundant stem cell reserve. During transplant only a part of the donor’s stem cells (5%) is donated. This small amount of stem cells is sufficient to produce normal blood cells in the recipient. A donor might experience mild body pain; otherwise he or she will be normal.
11) Is cancer frightening?
Time lost is the life lost. Majority of people who present in early stages are getting cured with adequate treatment. Most of them lead normal lives. Neglect, ignorance, non-acceptance and dabbing in dubious treatment procedures are the cause of delay which leads to treatment failure and ultimate death.