Lung Cancer in Children

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Lung cancer can happen to anyone at any age, including children. The lungs are like giant trees that branch off to filter the air you breathe in. You breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Parents may not know their child has lung cancer until the cancer has progressed to stage four. Watching for signs and symptoms along with taking your child to the doctor on a regular basis is one way to ensure their health.

Effects

  • Lung cancer in children is not an easy thing to deal with. A child may suffer more because their lungs are not as developed as an adult. Children may suffer with wheezing, chronic infections and colds while dealing with lung cancer. Children with lung cancer can become weak and lose interest in childhood activities. Playing with their friends can bring on exhaustion. They may also become depressed and cling to their parents.

Symptoms

  • Children with lung cancer will display certain symptoms that can be mistaken for asthma. For instance, a child may have shortness of breath, fatigue or wheezing. Another sign of lung cancer is a cough that will not go away. As the cancer becomes worse, a child will experience swelling in the neck and face, weight loss, coughing up blood, chest pains and persistent bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia.

Time Frame

  • The time it takes for lung cancer to reach stage four depends on several factors. Some children will develop lung cancer within a matter of months, while it can take years to develop in other children. Every case is different, but the length of time it takes for the cancer to take the full effect depends on the child's overall health and the type of lung cancer.

Types

  • Non-small cell lung cancer is one of the most common types. This type of lung cancer grows very slowly. There are also other varieties of non-small cell lung cancer that are called bronchoalevolar carcinoma, large-cell carcinoma, andenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Another type of lung cancer is small-cell carcinoma, which is mainly linked to cigarette smoke or secondhand smoke. This type of cancer grows faster than other types. Metastatic lung cancer is caused by other cancers in the body. Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the fibers in the lungs. This type of lung cancer is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a carcinogenic mineral material used for building insulation and fire retardants. All of these types of lung cancer can affect children and adults.

Prevention/Solutions

  • To prevent lung cancer in children certain measures can be taken. Children are a product of their environment. To reduce the risk to your child do not smoke around your child. Even if you smoke several feet a way, secondhand smoke can still travel far and affect the child's air quality.

    If you do smoke consider quitting for the sake of your children or at least smoke outside far away from your house. Even when you smoke on the porch, the smoke-filled air can still travel under the door and on your clothes. Be sure that you air out your clothing and walk around down the block before entering your home. In addition, children who are exposed to radon can also be susceptible to lung cancer. Have your home tested for radon. Improve air quality in your home by investing in an air filtration system. Feed your child antioxidant-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables daily. Children are still going to be exposed to other containments in the air ,but you can lesson the effects by taking the preventative measures mentioned.

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