Childhood Cancers

What's the difference between adult and childhood cancer?

Childhood cancers differ from adult cancers in that they are not strongly linked to lifestyle or environmental risk factors but rather are more often caused by DNA mutations that occur very early in life. Childhood cancers tend to respond better to chemotherapy treatments since their bodies are more resilient and better able to handle chemotherapy than adults' bodies.

Innovative research conducted over the past four decades has resulted in important advances in the clinical management of cancer in children and adolescents. For example, since the 1960's, childhood cancers have been treated primarily in dedicated pediatric facilities with physicians and specialists who have experience with children and adolescents.

What are the risk factors and causes of childhood cancer?

While adult cancer can be linked to lifestyle habits and environmental causes, outside factors like these have not been shown to be the causes of childhood cancer. Some children inherit DNA changes from a parent that are considered a risk factor for developing cancer but most cases of childhood cancer are not from inherited DNA changes. Most of the causes for childhood cancer, with the exception of radiation exposure, are from acquired DNA changes when a cell doesn't divide correctly and passes the acquired mutation to the cells that result from the original mutated cell.

Aside from this information, not much is known about the causes of childhood cancer which can make a diagnosis very scary and stressful for a family. Baptist Cancer Center has a wonderful staff of pediatric cancer specialists who will put your child's health and recovery first.

The specific types of pediatric cancers we treat include:

  • brain tumors
  • endocrine tumors
  • ewing's sarcoma
  • germ cell tumors
  • hematology disorders
  • leukemia
  • lymphoma
  • medulloblastoma
  • melanoma
  • neuroblastoma
  • neurofibromatosis
  • osteosarcoma
  • retinoblastoma
  • rhabdomyosarcoma
  • wilm's tumor

Pediatric Oncology Faculty

The pediatric oncology faculty members at BCC are regional leaders in developing improved diagnostic, therapeutic, and supportive-care protocols specifically for children and adolescents. This work is valuable, because when managing pediatric patients with leukemia, lymphoma, tumors of the brain, soft tissue, and bone, and other malignancies, clinicians must take into consideration the unique pathology of these diseases in this population. BCC oncologists practice multimodality treatment of the most common childhood cancers.