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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Concussions: Prevention and recovery for soccer players

Dr. O'Brien concussions in soccer players thriving lead image
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: PATRICK BIBBINS/BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

As kids and teens get ready for the start of a new school year, many will be lacing up their cleats in anticipation of the coming soccer season. Playing soccer brings together all the benefits of rigorous exercise, fun with friends and an unlimited abundance of orange slices. However, participation also comes with the risk of injury.

Concussions, a type of traumatic brain injury, are all too common in the soccer world. It’s clear that the protection mouth guards provide is far from sufficient for protecting your child from a concussion. So, if soccer’s protective equipment can’t keep players safe, what can?

Dr. Michael O’Brien, director of the Sports Concussion Clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital, helps athletes who have sustained concussions get back in the game and works with athletes to prevent sports injuries, including concussions. His advice to players, parents and coaches on what athletes can do to reduce the risks of concussions revolves around effective and clear communication.

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Life-changing second opinion for Jake uncovers rare urological anomaly

Jake plays golf after treatment for anterior urethral valves
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF THE GRESIS FAMILY

For most kids, going to the doctor ranks right up there with slogging through homework and cleaning their room — they’d rather be doing just about anything else. But 4-year-old Jake Gresis doesn’t mind traveling from his home in Virginia to see Dr. Richard Yu, director of the Robotic Surgery Program in the Department of Urology at Boston Children’s Hospital. “He always looks forward to coming to Boston,” says his mom, Wendy. “He’s well aware of what Dr. Yu has done for him.”

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Recurrent UTIs in boys: When should you worry?

A UTI can be a sign of a greater problem in boys
PHOTO: ADOBE STOCK

We tend to think of urinary tract infections, or UTIs, as a predominantly female problem — and it’s true that they tend to be much more common in girls. This is largely due to their anatomy, which can make it easier for bacteria — typically E. coli from the colon — to enter the urethra, bladder and other parts of the urinary tract. Yet even though they’re much less likely to develop these infections, boys aren’t immune from UTIs.

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