Causes And Prevention Of Adolescent Cancer

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As cancer incidence rates rise internationally, a larger percent of patients require research through clinical trials and treatments to cure their cancer. The National Cancer Institute, the primary federal agency for cancer research in the United States, defines cancer as “a collection of related diseases… [in which] some of the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues” (“What Is Cancer?”). Cancer is the leading cause of death for children ages 0 to 19 in the U.S. In 2015, researchers predict that doctors will diagnose at least 15,700 children with cancer, and the number of diagnoses will continue to increase by .6 percent in the next year (“Childhood and Adolescent Cancer Statistics”, 6). Approximately …show more content…
Currently, specialists in pediatric cancer use treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, bone marrow transplantations, and surgery to destroy the cancer cells. Of these, the most common treatment is chemotherapy, the use a variety of chemicals and drugs. Despite the positive impact chemotherapy makes to stop the reproduction of cancer cells, the chemicals also harm healthy cells. Most patients on chemotherapy lose their hair, frequently vomit, have a low white blood cell count, and feel lethargic. For children, these side effects destroy their everyday lives. The loss of hair makes the child feel abnormal and unattractive, especially teenagers who experience self-esteem problems. Parents need to “emphasize to [the] child that the hair loss is temporary and that it will grow back,” because the loss of hair is equivalent to the loss of the child’s sense of individualism (Hodder, 246). The vomiting and fatigue create an uncomfortable, sedentary lifestyle for children who are normally inquisitive and rowdy. To further avert normal activities, children cannot attend school or any public places without a serious health risk because of their low white blood cell count. Because children are more vulnerable to diseases, their white blood cells are imperative. A common …show more content…
The harsh therapies available today callus parts of the brain that impede regular activity and cause “neuropsychological problems, sensory and motor deficits, and speech/language disorders” (Murdoch, 21). These reactions prevent the normalcy that the children yearn for after the physical and psychological traumas of cancer. Also, children who have endured chemotherapy have a higher chance of cardiovascular issues later in life. According to a study done by Mulrooney, an expert on pediatric cancer, “[children] treated [for cancer] between 1970 and 1986 are more likely than their siblings to report congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction, pericardial disease, and valvular abnormalities in young adult life” (Jenney, 3). These delayed reactions can significantly decrease the life expectancy of these individuals and counteract the measures used to treat cancer. To further destroy any hope of regularity, there is a 5 percent chance that the cancer will return in a couple of years or that a secondary cancer will occur due to the radioactive therapy. When the cancer returns, it is more aggressive and does not respond to the same treatment as well. To hinder both the short-term and long-term effects of cancer and its treatments, doctors must discover ways to help patients without exposing their bodies to dangerous chemicals. Due to sparse research, many physicians administer

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