Brain tumors: Brain and central nervous system tumors are the second most common cancers in children, making up about 26% of childhood cancers. There are many types of brain tumors, and the treatment for each is different. Since the brain controls learning, memory, senses (hearing, visual, smell, taste, touch), emotions, muscles, organs, and blood vessels, the presentation of symptoms varies accordingly. They can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, blurred or double vision, staring, repetitive automatic movements, seizures, dizziness, balance problems, trouble in walking, or handling objects. Treatment consists surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy according to the type of tumor. Treatment of pediatric brain cancers is more complicated than is the treatment of some of the other childhood cancers. Surgery to remove the tumor is not always possible, either because the tumor is inaccessible or because surgical removal of the tumor would damage critical parts of the brain. The prognosis of a brain tumor depends not only on the type, grade, and size of the tumor, but on its location in the brain.

Neuroblastoma: Neuroblastoma starts in early forms of nerve cells found in a developing embryo or fetus. About 6% of childhood cancers are neuroblastomas. This type of cancer develops in infants and young children. It is rarely found in children older than 10. The tumor can start anywhere but usually begins in the abdomen. There is swelling and palpable mass in the abdomen. It can also cause bone pain and fever.

Wilms tumor: Wilms tumor (also called nephroblastoma) starts in one, or rarely, both kidneys. Wilms tumor accounts for about 5% of childhood cancers. It is most often found in children about 3 to 4 years old and is uncommon in children older than age 6. The symptoms are swelling in the abdomen, fever, pain, nausea, or poor appetite. Treatment consists of surgery, chemotherapy and sometimes radiotherapy.

Leukemia: Leukemias, which are cancers of the bone marrow and blood, are the most common childhood cancers. They account for about 30% of all cancers in children. The most common types in children are acute lymphocytic leukemia and acute myelogenous leukemia. These leukemias can cause bone and joint pain, fatigue, pale skin, bleeding or bruising, swollen lymph nodes, frequent infections, fever, weight loss. Acute leukemias can proliferate quickly, so they must be treated as soon as the diagnosis established.

Lymphoma: Lymphomas start in cells called lymphocytes. They most often start in lymph nodes, tonsils, and thymus. These cancers can also affect the bone marrow and other organs. Symptoms depend on where cancer begins. The symptoms may include weight loss, fever, sweats, tiredness, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit, or groin. The 2 main types of lymphoma are Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Hodgkin lymphoma accounts for about 3% of childhood cancers. Hodgkin lymphoma is rare in children younger than 5 years of age. The treatment consists of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma makes up about 5% of childhood cancers. It is rare in children younger than 3. These cancers often overgrow and require treatment as soon as diagnosis established.

Rhabdomyosarcoma: Rhabdomyosarcoma starts in cells that normally develop into skeletal muscles. It can begin nearly any place in the body, including the head and neck, abdomen, pelvis,  arm or leg. It may cause pain, swelling, or both. Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common type of soft tissue sarcoma in children. It makes up about 3% of childhood cancers.

Retinoblastoma: Retinoblastoma is a cancer of the eye. It accounts for about 2% of childhood cancers. It usually occurs in children around the age of 2 and is seldom found in children older than 6. Retinoblastomas are usually found because a parent or doctor notices a child’s eye looks unusual. In an eye with retinoblastoma, the pupil often looks white or pink. 

Bone cancers: Bone cancers start in the bones. Bone cancers occur most often in older children and teens, but they can develop at any age. They account for about 3% of childhood cancers. Two main types of primary bone cancers occur in children; osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma. Osteosarcoma is most common in teens and usually develops near the ends of the long bones. It often causes bone pain that gets worse at night or with activity. It can also cause swelling in the area around the bone, stiffness in the joint or fracture in the bone. Osteosarcoma treatment consists surgery and chemotherapy. Ewing sarcoma is less common than osteosarcoma. It causes pain and swelling of the bone. The localization is mostly pelvic bones, bones of the thorax wall or the medial part of the long bones. Ewing sarcoma is treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgical removal of the primary tumor if needed. 
Hepatoblastoma: Hepatoblastoma is a solid tumor cancer of the liver. This primary liver tumor accounts for half of all liver tumors in children. Scientists do not know the cause of this disease. Some children, however, are at an increased risk of being diagnosed with hepatoblastoma due to other genetic conditions. These include Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis, and Aicardi syndrome. Hepatoblastoma is predominantly found in preschool-aged children. Half of all patients are diagnosed in their first year of life, with the majority of patients being diagnosed by their third birthday. Symptoms include abdominal mass, loss of appetite, nausea, abnormal weight loss, diarrhea, jaundice, itching, fever, and abdominal pain. Treatment consists surgery and chemotherapy.

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Asim Yoruk, MD

Yeditepe University Speciality Hospital
Koşuyolu Mah. Koşuyolu Cad. No: 168
34718 Kadıköy/İstanbul

T: +90 216 578 5080