What is Cancer?
Your body is made up of thousands of cells – about ten trillion actually. Normal ones keep our bodies healthy, these cells grow and divide and stop when they should but sometimes they don’t know when to stop. Cancer is the uncontrollable growth of cells in the body often causing a growth or tumour.
The following are the most common cancers among 13-18-year-olds.
About the different cancers
- Brain Tumour
- Testicular cancer
- Thyroid cancer
is a type of cancer that affects the blood and the bone marrow. While leukemia is more common in younger children, it is also seen in teens. In fact, most types of leukemia do occur in children once they reach their teen years. Leukemia occurs in the teen years and grows at a much faster pace as compared to leukemia that occurs at younger age. Some examples of such types of leukemia are acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).
Warning signs and risk factors for Luekemia include:
- Excessive tiredness and weakness even when you have already rested and slept
- Pale skin
- Sudden and unexplained weight loss
- Pain in the bones and joints
- Bleeding or bruising
It is always easier to treat leukemia when dignosed early, so it is extremely important to get in touch with the doctor to check the moment you notice any of the warning signs or symptoms.
There are 2 main groups of lymphomas: Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). In teenagers and young adults (15–24 years old), Hodgkin lymphoma occurs more than twice as often as does NHL. Some children who are diagnosed with lymphoma will have Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and are often treated with combinations of chemotherapy and radiation. The others will have Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), which may require more complex treatment regimens.
Warning signs and risk factors for lymphoma are similar in children and adolescents as well as in adults. Symptoms include:
Brain Tumour is a growth of cells in the brain that multiplies in an abnormal, uncontrollable way.
- Swelling of the lymph nodes, which may or may not be painless
- Night sweats
- Unexplained weight loss
Brain tumours are graded according to how fast they grow and how likely they are to grow back after treatment. Grade one and two tumours are low grade, and grade three and four tumours are higher grade.
Non-cancerous (benign) brain tumours
– are low grade (grade one or two), which means they grow slowly and are less likely to return after treatment.
Cancerous (malignant) brain tumours
– are high grade (grade three or four) and either start in the brain (primary tumours) or spread into the brain from elsewhere (secondary tumours); they're more likely to grow back after treatment.
The symptoms of a brain tumour vary depending on the exact part of the brain affected. Common symptoms include:
- Severe, persistent headaches
- Seizures (fits)
- Persistent nausea, vomiting and drowsiness
- Mental or behavioural changes, such as memory problems or changes in personality
- Progressive weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
- Vision or speech problems
Sometimes, you may not have any symptoms to begin with or they may only develop very slowly over time.
starts in the ovaries and is much more common in older women. But some types of ovarian cancers, known as germ cell tumours
, are more common in teens and young women.
Early ovarian cancer usually does not cause symptoms, but some teens and young women might feel full quickly when eating or have abnormal bloating, belly pain, or urinary symptoms which are easy to confuse with period symptoms. If such symptoms last more than a few weeks, they should be checked by a doctor.
There are two main types of bone cancer in young people – Osteosarcoma and Ewing Sarcoma. Both are pretty rare and usually affect large bones like the thigh bone and the shin bone, but can also affect other bones. Osteosarcoma starts in the cells that make your bones grow. Ewing Sarcoma causes a tumour to grow in your bones or in the soft tissue around your bones.
The biggest warning sign of bone cancer is:
- Bone pain (but having bone pain doesn’t always mean you have cancer).
- The area usually feels tender at first.
- Persistent ache that doesn’t go away.
- You might feel a lump too.
as the name suggests, even though it mainly occurs in boys around the age of 20, it can often occur in the teen years too.
Symptoms of testicular cancer include:
- A lump that may appear on the testical
- The testical becomes large or looks swollen
- A tumour in the testicles can also be accompanied with pain but in most cases, there will be no pain.
In most cases, timely intervention and medical care and support can completely cure testicular cancer.
It is common for people with thyroid cancer to have few or no symptoms. Thyroid cancers are often diagnosed by routine examination of the neck or are unintentionally found by x-rays or other imaging scans that were performed for other reasons. People with thyroid cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with thyroid cancer do not have any of these changes. Or, the cause of a symptom may be a different medical condition that is not cancer.
- A lump in the front of the neck, near the Adam's apple
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Pain in the throat or neck
- A cough that persists and is not caused by a cold
These symptoms may be caused by thyroid cancer; other thyroid problems, such as a goiter; or a condition not related to the thyroid, such as an infection.