Lung Cancer in Children

The American Heart Association reports that approximately 60 percent of children in America between the ages of four and 11 are exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes. While the statistics may not be the same in other countries, young children all over the world are still being exposed to significant amounts of secondhand smoke by people who are supposed to be concerned about their well being.

Medical studies show that children exposed to significant amounts of second hand smoke are more likely to suffer from pneumonia and bronchitis. They have a higher risk of developing asthma. Children exposed to second hand smoke also at a higher risk of developing lung cancer.

Lung cancer is not always caused by secondhand smoke. There are also other causes. But if you know your child or a child is being exposed to secondhand smoke you may want to be extra vigilant about looking for signs of possible lung cancer. Lung cancer in children is often treatable and curable if detected early enough.

No Appetite

Not every child eats a lot of food, but they should be regularly hungry even if the child tends to be more of a picker than an eater. One of the early signs of lung cancer is a child who doesn't want to eat, even his or her favorite and likely non-nutritious foods. Don't be alarmed if a child doesn't wish to eat for a little while. All children go through phases where their appetites are stronger than other times. But warning bells should ring if a child has no appetite for a long period of time and is also losing weight.

Shortness of Breath and Coughing

A child shouldn't regularly have a hard time catching his or her breath. Shortness of breath can be a sign of asthma, but it can also be a sign of lung cancer especially if the shortness of breath lasts for weeks. As the cancer grows in the lungs it can make breathing difficult which leads to wheezing. A hoarse voice is also common.

A persistent cough or one that brings up blood could be a sign of lung cancer in a child. But it could also be a sign of asthma, pneumonia or another infection.

A Tired Child in Pain

As with any infection, it takes the body a lot of energy to fight the infection. It could be a sign of lung cancer if a child who normally doesn't nap suddenly appears listless, extremely tired and needs to regularly nap. Fatigue accompanied by persistent pain can be an indicator of cancer. The pain can be in the back, chest and/or shoulders. This pain doesn't go away with pain relievers, rest, massage or stretching. It's continuous and persistent. Regular muscular pains that happen when growing aren't an indicator of possible lung cancer.