Childhood Cancers


Children can get cancers, but they get them far more rarely than adults, and they also get different types of cancers. The main types of cancers that children get are:

  • Leukemia: the most common childhood cancer, the most well-known. However, many more adults get leukemia than children.
  • Brain cancers: the second most common childhood cancer is one that is rare in adults.
  • Retinoblastoma: a particular cancer of the eye's retina is common in children, and rare in adults.
  • Sarcomas: although rare, children get more sarcomas of soft tissues and bone tissues than adults. Generally, for solid tumors, most child tumors are sarcomas (internal cells), but most adult cancers are carcinomas (epithelial surface cells).

Theories about Childhood Cancers

So children get different cancers. Adults get cancers of the exposed surfaces (stomach, bowel, skin, bladder, cervix, etc.), sex glands (breast, ovary, testes), and hormone glands (pancreas, liver, etc.) Children get cancers of the "internal" cells such as white blood cells (leukemia), brain, retina, soft tissue, and bone.

What does this tell us about cancer theory? Firstly, let's look at why children are different from adults:

  • Growing rapidly: a child's body is rapidly producing new cells, leading to growth, and also faster healing of any damage.
  • Strong immune systems: a child is usually strong and healthy in all respects, including immunity.
  • Younger: obviously children have fewer years on the planet.
  • Hormone differences: pre-puberty children do not have active sex hormones fluctuating throughout the body.

All of this circumstantial evidence can be interpreted various ways and is far from clear. Perhaps the cancers that children get are the "pure" cancers, that arise naturally from internal DNA errors, without any environmental triggers. Children have not been subject to years of environmental radiation and toxins, nor to fluctuations of hormones, which are perhaps more direct triggers than the rare DNA duplication errors. Hence, their skin and other surface cells has not had enough damage to cause cancers. Maybe leukemia is a singularity in this list, perhaps still triggered by environmental radiation combined with cell growth (highly controversial), and only the non-leukemia cancers are "pure" without external triggers.

There are other interpretations, of course. Perhaps children's DNA repair mechanisms are better except for these particular cell types. An alternative medicine theory might propose that children are less stressed and happier, and only get the cancers that are not stress-related. There are a myriad of interpretations, some serious, some facetious, and only general patterns on which to base it.

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