New Delhi: When we talk about cancers in children, it is 3 to 5 per cent of all cancers, which simply means if 100 patients are admitted in a cancer hospital out of those, cancer screening will detect 3 to 5 patients of paediatric age group. Dr Vikas Dua, Principal Director & Head, Paediatric Haematology, Haemato Oncology & Bone Marrow Transplant, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, shared that the most common cancer in children is blood cancer, which means acute leukaemia.
The expert elaborated, “There are two different types of acute leukaemia, first is acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, second is acute myeloid leukaemia. These patients present to us with low haemoglobin, a high white cell count or a low white cell count, or a low platelets. It simply means they may be having fatigue and tiredness.”
Cancer screening for leukaemia in children
To confirm that diagnosis, doctors have to first do a simple blood test called complete hemogram in which you will find low haemoglobin, high or low TLC and low platelets. “It can further detect some cancer cells in the blood which are called blasts. In case you don’t see blast in the blood, then you need to do a test called bone marrow,” Dr Dua said.
Bone marrow test is performed to confirm the diagnosis. You can confirm the diagnosis of acute leukaemia. And then you can characterise whether it is acute lymphoblastic leukaemia or acute myeloid leukaemia by doing a special test from the sample which you have collected from the bone marrow called immunophenotyping.
Chances of cure for leukaemia
Last but not the least, you can again characterise whether this is a standard risk, intermediate or high-risk leukaemia, which means how the leukaemia is going to behave by doing acute Leukaemia PCR test from the collected sample from bone marrow.
This means a standard risk of leukaemia has 90 per cent chances of cure, intermediate-risk leukaemia has 80 per cent chances of cure, and high-risk leukaemia has 50 per cent chance of cure. After knowing the risks and cure percentages, the doctors proceed further with the treatment.