Mesothelioma can be a devastating disease for anyone, but is especially horrific for children. Many health experts claim that children are highly unlikely to develop the disease because they are not exposed to asbestos long enough to develop it.
Unfortunately, more recent research has shown that the prevalence of mesothelioma may be much higher than statistics indicate. Dominik Schneider, the author of “Rare Tumors in Children and Adolescents,” said that many general pathologists are not trained to recognize malignant tumors in children. Parents and other people in a child’s life should understand the symptoms so they can help get treatment for a child who seems to be suffering from the condition.
What Are the Symptoms of Pediatric Mesothelioma?
The symptoms of mesothelioma in children are very similar to adult symptoms. However, most physicians are reluctant to diagnose the condition as mesothelioma. I can understand their reasoning, because the condition does take a while to develop. However, you should get a second opinion if your child has any of the following symptoms:
- Excess fluid in the lungs
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
Mesothelioma tends to take a longer time to develop in children than in adults. However, the symptoms can show up much more suddenly in the rare instance when a child does develop the condition. Make sure that you look into any warning signs in your child and get your child diagnosed if you think there is a possibility of any sort of illness.
The problem that many physicians face is distinguishing mesothelioma from other cancers that may have metastasized. They will need to do immunohistochemical tests to determine what type of cancer your child has developed. You need to be an advocate for your child and insist on necessary tests to determine the cause and condition so you can then identify the best treatment.
Causes of Mesothelioma in Children
Children do not tend to develop mesothelioma in the same way that adults do. Adults tend to develop the cancer after decades of exposure to asbestos.
One study followed 80 children and found that just over 2% of them had been exposed to asbestos. Researchers couldn’t conclude how the others developed the condition. Epidemiologists will need to do additional research to determine why some children develop mesothelioma. Therefore, you shouldn’t rule out the possibility that your child is suffering from it just because they haven’t been exposed to asbestos. Fortunately, mesothelioma can still be treated in children even though we don’t know how it is caused.
The important thing is that you will need to identify the condition early on. Children and adults will use the same treatment protocols. There are a number of medications on the market which have been proven effective in delaying the progress and treating the painful symptoms of mesothelioma. Chemotherapy may also be necessary for some children suffering from the disorder.
Mesothelioma can be a devastating illness for anybody, but it can be especially terrible for parents of children with the disease. Make sure you get your child diagnosed and try to get them treatment beforehand.