Tumours are uncommon in children. However in children, tumours are often malignant or cancerous, grow to a large size before presentation and can make the child very sick. Hence it is important to get an accurate diagnosis right when the tumour is found.
A tumour simply means a lump or a growth. it may be slow growing or fast growing. May cause symptoms or may be incidentally noted. Depending on the location and type of tumour the child has, a paediatric oncosurgeon will advise further tests.
Commonly tests are done to know the extent of the tumour (ultrasound and CT/MRI/PET scans), to know general well being of the child (blood tests).
If a cancer or malignant tumour is suspected then often a biopsy is done. A biopsy is commonly done by introducing a small needle and taking very small piece of the tumour to study under the microscope. Anaesthesia may be given if the child is small. The report takes 7 to 10 days. Sometimes an open biopsy is recommended which is like a small surgery.
Common cancers (solid tumours) in children are Neuroblastoma, Wilm’s tumour, Germ Cell Tumour (GCT), Sarcoma and Hepatoblastoma.