The Body Is Made up of Hundreds of Millions of Living Cells

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The human body is made up of numerous living cells that undergo regulated growth, division, and death. During the early stages of life, cells divide quickly to promote growth. However, as a person reaches adulthood, cell division mainly serves to replace worn-out or dying cells and aid in healing from injuries. The development of cancer occurs when cells in a specific area of the body start multiplying without control. Abnormal and unregulated cell growth is a common trait found in all forms of cancer (American Cancer Society, 2010).

According to the American Cancer Society (2010), around 10,730 children under 15 years old in the United States were diagnosed with cancer in 2009. Fortunately, advancements in treatments have greatly improved their chances of survival. Currently, approximately 80% of these children will survive for at least five years, a significant increase compared to the survival rate below 50% before the 1970s. However, despite improved treatment options and supportive care, cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease for children under five years old. In 2009 alone, it is estimated that 1,380 children lost their lives due to cancer (American Cancer Society, 2010).

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Childhood cancers, including leukemia, brain and nervous system tumors, lymphomas, bone cancers, soft tissue sarcomas, kidney cancers, and eye cancers, exhibit significant differences compared to adult cancers. Leukemia accounts for about 33% of all childhood cancer cases. The predominant forms of leukemia in children are acute lymphocytic leukemia and acute myelogenous leukemia. Brain and nervous system cancers comprise approximately 21% of childhood cases.

Most brain cancers in children are found in the cerebellum or brain stem. Neuroblastoma, on the other hand, is a cancer that starts from specific nerve cells during embryonic or fetal development. This type of cancer primarily affects infants and young children and is usually detected within their first year of life. It rarely occurs in individuals over 10 years old. About 7% of all childhood cancers are neuroblastomas.

In contrast, Wilms tumor is a kidney cancer that typically begins in one kidney but can sometimes affect both kidneys. It commonly occurs in children around the age of three and is uncommon among those older than six. The presence of a lump or swelling in the abdominal region may indicate the presence of Wilms tumor.

About 5% of childhood cancers are caused by a specific type of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society (2010). Both Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma originate in the lymph tissues, such as the tonsils, lymph nodes, and thymus. These types of cancer can spread to other organs, including the bone marrow, resulting in different symptoms depending on their location. Hodgkin’s lymphoma affects people of all ages and accounts for approximately 4% of childhood cancers. However, it is more prevalent in two age groups: young adults (15-40 years old) and older adults (55 and above).

Hodgkin lymphoma is an uncommon cancer in children under the age of five, making up approximately 10% to 15% of cases in children and adolescents. From 2005-2010 data shows that about 81 out of every 100 individuals with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma survive for one year after diagnosis. These survival rates gradually decrease over time, with around 63 out of every 100 people still alive after five years and 49 out of every 100 after ten years.

On the other hand, rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common type of soft tissue sarcoma found in children, accounting for slightly more than 3% of childhood cancers. Similarly, retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer, comprises just under 3% of childhood cancers.

The American Cancer Society (2010) states that primary bone cancer mostly affects children under four years old and is rare in individuals over six. It primarily impacts children and adolescents. Primary bone cancer is different from metastatic bone cancer, which occurs when cancer spreads to the bone from another area. Metastatic bone cancer is more common than primary bone cancer because various types of cancers can spread to the bone. In children, there are two types of primary bone cancers: osteosarcoma, a rare form that represents almost 3% of new childhood cancer cases in the United States.

Ewing sarcoma, a rare type of primary bone cancer, is characterized by bone pain. It mainly affects teenagers and makes up just over 1% of childhood cancers (American Cancer Society, 2010). Risk factors and causes of childhood cancer relate to factors that can affect the chances of developing cancer. Each type of cancer has its own specific risk factors. Lifestyle-related risks play a significant role in the risk of adult cancer but have little or no effect on childhood cancer.

Preventing childhood cancer is not solely caused by one factor, as there are no known avoidable risk factors that directly impact a child’s likelihood of developing cancer (American Cancer Society, 2010). Unlike adult cancers, which can often be linked to specific behaviors or exposures, the reasons behind childhood cancer are not well comprehended. Detecting childhood cancer early presents difficulties; thus, it is crucial for parents to make sure their children receive regular medical check-ups and stay attentive for persistent or unusual signs and symptoms.

The signs and symptoms to watch for in childhood cancer include an unusual lump or swelling, unexplained paleness and loss of energy, easy bruising, ongoing pain in one area of the body, limping, unexplained fever or illness that persists, frequent headaches often accompanied by vomiting, sudden eye or vision changes, and sudden unexplained weight loss (American Cancer Society, 2010).

While certain lifestyle changes can decrease specific risk factors and prevent adult cancers, there is presently no known method to prevent most childhood cancers. The treatment for childhood cancers consists of a combination of tailored therapies based on the specific type of cancer.

The treatment options for pediatric cancer, including chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy are distinct from those available for adult cancers. Generally, childhood cancers respond more favorably to chemotherapy than adult cancers (American Cancer Society, 2010). I recently discovered Candle lighters in Austin, Texas. This organization offers specialized outpatient services to families coping with childhood cancer.

Some of the programs available to families dealing with childhood cancer are comprehensive case management, counseling and crisis intervention, educational support groups, school advocacy, and family events (Any Baby Can Child and Family resource center, 2010). Candle lighters/Austin Area, founded in 1998 as a parent-driven nonprofit organization, merged with Any Baby Can of Austin in October 2003. The information that they have on the website is available for anyone who may want to read about childhood cancers and the effects of these types of cancers.

Candle lighters information on childhood cancer provides help, support, and hope to those facing or dealing with the effects of childhood cancer. The website’s emphasis on the purpose behind the support and educational programs stood out to me. These programs aim to assist parents who have experienced childhood cancer and those who are there to support both the children and their parents during a challenging journey in life (Any Baby Can Child and Family Resource Center, 2010).

The proposed enhancements for the candle lighters program involve creating a platform on the website where children with cancer can connect with others facing similar challenges. This can be achieved by incorporating a link on the website, enabling children in hospitals to communicate with peers experiencing the impacts of cancer. This would result in mutual support among the children, supplementing the existing support from loved ones who are already present in their lives, providing them with abundant love and care.

One way for the candle lighters to reach a wider audience is by airing television commercials. These commercials would inform individuals who may be unaware of their programs and the ways they can help and support children and their families during difficult times. While exploring the candle lighters website, I stumbled upon a poignant quote that deeply resonated with me. I believe it serves as a fitting conclusion to my paper as it encapsulates the challenges faced in times of grief and highlights the importance of maintaining the metaphorical candle’s flame amidst darkness.

According to Taylor (1997), when multiple candles are lit and placed together, one can’t help but see the light and feel the warmth of love.


  1. American Cancer Society. (2010). All about Cancer in Children. Retrieved from http://www. cancer. org
  2. Any Baby Can Child and Family Resource Center. (2010). Candle lighters/childhood cancer. Retrieved from http://www. abcaus. org/candlelighters. asp (2005-2010).
  3. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Retrieved from http://www. webmd. com

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The Body Is Made up of Hundreds of Millions of Living Cells. (2018, Jun 12). Retrieved from

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