WHAT IS CANCER?
Our bodies are made up of millions of tiny cells – they’re like building blocks for your body. But sometimes the body makes some cells that aren’t normal. These are called cancer cells and they can make a person sick.
HOW DO I GET IT?
Cancer in children is a big mystery. We don’t know why some kids get it and others don’t.
Kids don’t do anything wrong to get cancer. It’s not because of anything they do or eat. You can’t catch cancer from someone else.
Doctors and scientists are working really hard to find out what causes cancer, along with how to treat it more quickly and how to prevent it happening at all.
We don’t know what causes most adult cancers but we know that some things increase the chances of getting cancer, like smoking or too much sun. It’s important to SLIP, SLOP, SLAP, SEEK and SLIDE, eat good food and stay fit and healthy.
Your body makes new cells all the time. These are usually healthy cells that help us grow and heal. New cells in your body make you grow taller, keep you well and active.
Cancer cells can grow more quickly than normal cells. They can overtake healthy cells and stop them from doing their job. This can make a person sick.
Some cancers grow as a lump called a tumour. There are two main types of tumor:
Benign: These are not cancerous. They either cannot spread or grow, or they do so very slowly. If a doctor removes them, they do not generally return.
Malignant: Malignant tumors are cancerous. The cells can grow and spread to other parts of the body.
There are more than 100 different types of cancer. They are usually named after the part of the body where the cancer cells first grow, e.g. ‘stomach cancer’ or ‘brain cancer’ or ‘breast cancer’.
Can I Catch Cancer?
No. Cancer isn’t contagious like a cold or flu. Just like you can’t ’catch’ a broken leg, you can’t catch cancer.
It’s okay and safe to hang out with someone who has cancer.
How Long Does It Last?
That depends as every cancer is different. Treatment can take months, or maybe even years depending on the type of cancer.
Doctors and scientists are working on new ways to fight cancer cells more quickly.
Does Cancer Hurt?
Yes, sometimes, depending on the type of cancer.
The treatments that fight cancer sometimes hurt too, but there are medicines to make it hurt less. If we don’t treat cancer, the patient won’t get better.
Do Kids Get Cancer?
People of any age can get cancer, including kids. Kids with cancer often go to a children’s hospital for treatment.
Talk to someone you trust – like your Mum, Dad or teacher – if you have questions about this.
Can People Die From Cancer?
Most people get better after treatment for cancer. However, some cancers can be hard to treat and sometimes people die.
If you’re worried about someone you love who has cancer, talk to someone you trust.
You can also call the Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.