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John Hunter Hospital School

John Hunter Hospital School

School, Family, Community

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Cancer is a disease which results when some of the body's cells become faulty, grow uncontrollably and multiply. The cells invade and damage surrounding tissues and may spread (metastasise) to other parts of the body.

The most common cancer in children is leukaemia, a cancer of the bone marrow. Approximately 38% of childhood cancers are a form of leukaemia. The cause of leukaemia is not known and it is not hereditary. Other cancers children may develop include brain tumours and tumours of other organs or tissues. These are called 'solid' tumours and most produce swelling or pain somewhere in the body.

Organs that may develop tumours include:

  • Brain
  • Lymph Glands
  • Nerve Tissues
  • Kidneys
  • Adrenal Glands
  • Eye
  • Bone.

Childhood cancer

Childhood cancers usually result in long periods of hospitalisation and many years of follow up. Cancer treatment and the duration of treatment will differ for each child. Treatment may result in changes to children's behaviour and academic performance displayed prior to the diagnosis.

Treatment a child may undergo can include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiotherapy (in many cases this will involve the brain and spinal cord)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Bone Marrow Transplant.