By: Amanda Bone
July 11, 2010
The body is made up of hundreds of millions of living cells. Normal body cells grow, divide, and die in an orderly fashion. During the early years of a person’s life, normal cells divide faster to allow the person to grow. After the person becomes an adult, most cells divide only to replace worn-out or dying cells or to repair injuries. Cancer begins when cells in a part of the body start to grow out of control. There are many kinds of cancer, but they all start because of out-of-control growth of abnormal cell (American Cancer Society, 2010). About 10,730 children in the United States under the age of 15 were diagnosed with cancer in 2009 (American Cancer Society, 2010). Because of the major treatments advances, 80% of these children will survive five years or more. This is a huge increase from before the 1970s, when the five year survival rate was less than 50%. Despite the advances in treatments and supportive care, cancer is still the leading cause of death from disease in children younger than five years old. About 1,380 children are expected to have died from cancer in 2009 (American Cancer Society, 2010). The types of cancers that occur in children vary greatly from those seen in adults. The most common cancers of children are leukemia’s, brain and other nervous system tumors, lymphomas, bone cancers, soft tissue sarcomas, kidney cancers, and eye cancers. Leukemia’s are the most common childhood cancers. They account for about 33% of all childhood cancers. Acute lymphocytic leukemia and acute myelogenous leukemia are the most common types of leukemia in children. Brain and nervous system cancers are the second most common cancers in children, making up about 21% of childhood cancers. Most brain cancers of children involve the cerebellum or brain stem. Neuroblastoma is a form of cancer that starts in certain types of nerve cells found in a...