Bone marrow is the source of blood cancers (children and infants). Leukemia is one of the most common cancers in children. Bone marrow is the place where blood cells are produced. Accompanied by red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
In the following, we will tell what are the signs and symptoms of blood cancer or leukemia in children.
Leukemia is said to be the most common type of cancer in infants, children and even adolescents. %24/17
The next rank is related to cancers of the nervous system %17/2
Third place in terms of prevalence is related to non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas %4/6
And the fourth place in terms of prevalence of Hodgkin’s lymphoma is %2/6
Leukemias are the second leading cause of death in cancers in infants and children (after nervous system tumors and brain tumors).
A look at statistics and numbers related to blood cancers and leukemia in children
We said that leukemias are the most common type of cancer in infants and children
One in three cases of cancer in infants and children is said to have leukemia.
The most common blood cancer in infants and children is ALL (all is the most common cancer in children aged two to five years)
Out of four cases of leukemia in infants and children, three cases are ALL (the most common age is all in early childhood)
One in four cases of leukemia in children and infants is associated with AML (the prevalence of AML is higher in early childhood).
Hispanic and whites are more common than African Americans and Asian Americans
ELL occurs more often in girls than in boys
All races are the same in terms of the risk of developing AML
There is no gender difference in the risk of developing aml
Blood and leukemia cancers in infants and children
Bone marrow is the site of production of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
In leukemias, because abnormal and cancerous cells accumulate in the bone marrow, there is no place to make normal, healthy, and normal cells. As the cancer progresses, the bone marrow no longer has a place to produce healthy blood cells, and red and white blood cell and platelet deficiencies and abnormalities will be evident on a CBC test or complete blood cell count test.
Cancer cells may invade other parts of the body and cause specific symptoms in different areas.
In this article, the clinical signs and manifestations of neonatal blood cancers are to be explained.
An important point to note before describing the symptoms is that many of the symptoms may occur in other non-cancerous disorders and diseases of children, so do not arbitrarily take into account any similar symptoms and be sure to check the child. Take to the doctor.
On the other hand, many of the symptoms of leukemia and neonatal blood cancers are similar to common and harmless diseases in children, so be careful.
Symptoms can appear slowly and over time, or they can be acute, sudden, or exacerbated.
Clinical signs and manifestations of blood cancers in infants and children
We said that during leukemia or blood cancers, the production of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets is disrupted.
Symptoms of low red blood cell count:
- Anemia is the result of leukemia
- Anemia is accompanied by re-symptoms and clinical manifestations
- Feeling tired
- Pale skin
- Feeling cold
- Shortness of breath
Decreased production of red blood cells or RBCs is associated with anemia and decreased oxygen supply to all cells in the body.
Symptoms of a change in the number of white blood cells:
The role of white blood cells in the body is that in fact these cells are the mobile soldiers of the immune system and play the role of fighting infectious agents in the body.
A child with leukemia may have an increase in the number of white blood cells, but the important point is that these white blood cells, even in large numbers, will have neither the structure, nor the shape, nor the function of normal, healthy white blood cells.
Decreased normal and efficient white blood cell count will lead to the following symptoms
Affected infants and toddlers will be more susceptible to a variety of infections, sometimes lasting too long, or may have recurrent, recurrent infections.
Fever is the most common symptom of infection, but young children may not have a fever at all.
Symptoms of low platelet count:
Healthy and normal platelets stop bleeding, but platelets in blood cancers are both low in number and have no normal function.
Therefore, following platelet deficiency, the following symptoms are likely to occur:
- Very easy bruises
- Easy bleeding
- Bleeding gums
- Frequent or severe nosebleeds
Other clinical signs and manifestations in infants and young children with leukemia and cancer will be as follows:
- Enlargement of the abdomen:
Cancer blood cells will accumulate in the baby’s liver and spleen. With the accumulation of these cells, the liver and spleen enlarge. Doctors call splenomegaly splenomegaly and liver enlargement hepatomegaly.
In a healthy child and human whose liver and spleen are not enlarged, the lower ribs cover the two organs and therefore no large spleen or liver is found on examination of the abdomen, but in people with splenomegaly and hepatomegaly, the large liver and spleen cause enlargement. They become abdominal and are also touched by a doctor during the examination
- Bone pain;
Accumulation of cancer cells inside the bone near the surface of the body can sometimes cause severe skeletal bone pain.
- Enlarged lymph nodes:
Doctors call swollen and enlarged lymph nodes lymphadenopathy
Swollen lymph nodes on both sides of the neck, armpits, groin, and upper clavicle are felt as lumps under the skin.
Lymph nodes inside the chest or inside the abdomen may also be oversized, which can be seen on CT scans and MRIs.
An important point is that in healthy children, the lymph nodes, as an important part of the child’s immune system, are constantly fighting infectious agents, and therefore the swelling of the lymph nodes in a child is more of an infection than a cancer, but a thorough examination is necessary.
- Respiratory problems:
Occasionally, some types of blood cancers may involve the lymph nodes around the lungs or thymus gland and become enlarged. Pressure from these enlarged glands on the trachea and airways can cause the child to have trouble breathing or cough.
Sometimes the density of malignant cells in the blood is so high that a large number of cancer cells accumulate inside the pulmonary arteries and cause respiratory problems.
- Swelling of the baby’s face and arms:
Sometimes the thymus gland, which has grown due to the accumulation of malignant blood cancer cells, puts pressure on the veins that collect blood from the head, neck, and arms and carry it to the heart.
Gradually, due to this blood pressure, it stays inside the veins of the head, face, neck and hands, accumulates and causes swelling in these areas.
Doctors call this condition SVC, which has the following symptoms:
- Swelling of the face
- Swelling of the neck
- Swelling of the arms
- Swelling of the upper chest
- Sometimes the skin color of these areas also turns blue
- Confusion and loss of consciousness occur when venous blood retention reaches the brain
SVC syndrome is very threatening and deadly if left untreated
- Cerebral and neurological symptoms:
The following symptoms occur if leukemia, especially ALL, reaches the brain and spinal cord.
- Balance problems
- Decreased ability to concentrate
- Visual disorders such as blurred vision
- Mucosal skin symptoms:
In the AML form, the accumulation of malignant cells in the gums causes pain, bleeding, and swelling of the gums.
Also in AML, if malignant cells have spread to the skin, small, dark spots like rashes appear on the surface of the skin.
Doctors call the accumulations of malignant aml cells under the skin term (chroma) or sarco granulocytes.
- Extreme fatigue:
In aml, a rare but very serious complication is excessive fatigue, weakness and speech disorders.
This complication is the result of an increase in the concentration of blood in the cerebral arteries following the accumulation of malignant cells. This accumulation will drastically reduce blood flow to the small blood vessels in the brain
- Weight loss and loss of appetite:
Decreased appetite can be due to enlarged spleen and liver and increased intra-abdominal pressure.
The spleen and large liver also put pressure on the stomach, causing the baby to become full early.
Inflammatory compounds that circulate in the bloodstream during cancer also reduce appetite.
It is very difficult to tell which of your child’s symptoms is due to blood cancer, and different symptoms will appear in different children.
Symptoms of acute leukemia appear very suddenly. If there are similar symptoms, it is better for the child to be examined by a doctor
There is a wide range of disorders and diseases that can have the above symptoms, so a set of tests and examinations is necessary for accurate diagnosis and correct differentiation.