After reading a heartbreaking story about a baby born with cancer I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. This particular baby was diagnosed with a type of cancer that affects the muscles (rhabdomyosarcoma) within his first days of live. He had to have his little leg amputated and started with a series of chemo treatments that went well. He is learning how to stand up with his little prosthetic leg now and he is being an inspiration for everybody around him. There are thousands of stories of babies born with cancer and how devastating this diagnosis is for their parents, family and friends…
The most common cancer types in newborn babies are neuroblastoma (a solid mass develops from the proliferation of cancerous immature nerve cells), retinoblastoma (a type of eye cancer), cancer of bone and muscles (osteosarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma…), central nervous system tumours, leukemia, Wilm’s tumour (a type of kidney cancer) and liver cancer.
The treatment options vary according to the cancer type and stage, it often involves surgery and chemo. My heart aches when I read what parents write about their little ones losing hair and feeling sick from the chemo. The good thing is that medicine has improved so much in the past 20 years, that many children can be cured! This at least brings some hope to everybody who has a child suffering from cancer.
Although neonatal cancer is rare, there are many families struggling with this devastating situation. Research to find out causes and risk factors is still ongoing. We still don’t have enough answers to know why it happens and how we can be proactive in the prevention of this disease.