Author: Jenny Fernandez

What are the most common symptoms of childhood cancer?

Girl with leukemia visits with doctor
Emma Duffin and Dr. Leslie Lehmann (PHOTO: SAM OGDEN)

Childhood cancers are very rare; in fact, they make up less than 1 percent of all cancers diagnosed annually. Therefore, there are not any regular screening tests, unless a child has an increased risk due to genetic predisposition. This Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we’re taking a look at some of the common childhood cancer symptoms, and when parents should seek advice from a doctor.

The symptoms of childhood cancer can be difficult to recognize because they often mimic those of typical childhood illnesses, such as the common cold.

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Weight-loss surgery for teens and young adults: A good option?

Teen thinks about weight-loss surgery

Bariatric surgery, commonly known as weight-loss surgery, can be a safe and effective treatment for a teen or young adult whose obesity has persisted despite all medical efforts, and who has complications of obesity. Dr. Camilla Richmond, medical director of the Adolescent Bariatric Surgery Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, answers common questions about weight-loss surgery at Boston Children’s.

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The founder, a parent and a patient: Three yogis who are giving back

Yoga family
Anabelle, Bill and Jaime MacDonald

Yoga instructors and practitioners from New England and around the globe come together every year for Yoga Reaches Out. The day-long gathering inspires and unites participants in a day of selfless service or “seva” benefitting families and children.

Now in its eighth year, Yoga Reaches Out has donated over 1.3 million dollars to help fund Boston Children’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), the Heart Center, leukemia research, autism research, a playground, key research and the Wellness Program. Offering free services like yoga and meditation, The Wellness Program is a place for families to gain the strength, resilience and hope they need as their children go through the toughest tests of their young lives.

Read the stories of three yogis giving back this year.

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Daphne’s story: Lifting the fog on bladder exstrophy

Girl with bladder exstrophy playing at home

The day of their 18-week prenatal appointment was the first day of the most difficult period in Pam and Jon’s life. When the ultrasound technician couldn’t see their baby’s bladder, a second ultrasound was ordered to see if the bladder would become visible with another look. The question remained: Could it be something benign or a serious medical issue?

Pam panicked. Jon tried to stay calm. They had so many questions, plus a 2-year old daughter, their careers and a house to take care of. Their beloved Red Sox were playing in the World Series. Family and friends offered, with the best of intentions, conflicting advice.

The second ultrasound confirmed that their baby would be born with bladder exstrophy, a rare and complex birth defect where the bladder develops outside of the body. No one they knew had ever heard of the condition, not even their obstetrician.

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