Have you ever thought of a situation where your child gets caught with an unknown tumor? It may surprise you at first. Afterward, you would study what it could be, causes, symptoms, etc. Well, this unknown tumor could be germ cell tumor that develops due to germs cells in many parts of the body, especially in ovaries or testicles. The best part is that they are treated as most of them are benign or non-cancerous.
Did you know?
Out of all forms of cancer, extracranial germ* cell tumor hits 3 percent of children less than 15 years of age while approximately 14 percent of teenagers are hit by extracranial germ cell tumor including the ones that are developed in the reproductive organs as well.
*Extracranial germ cell tumor develops due to germ cells in different areas of the body except for the brain.
What are Germ Cell Tumors?
As the term says, it is not exactly associated with germs. In fact, it has got its name from the term ‘germinate’ that means to begin to grow.
When a baby develops before birth, germs cells fall into place to grow either into eggs in the ovaries or sperm in the testicles. Unfortunately, there are times when these cells grow in an abnormal way leading to the development of a tumor.
What are its causes?
Due to some changes in the genes of a germ cell led them to grow uncontrollably resulting in the development of the tumor. Your child is likely to develop a germ cell tumor if:
- He has an undescended testicle that means one or both testicles haven’t dropped into the scrotum.
- He has defects in his central nervous system, genitals or urinary tract.
- He has genetic disorders where he has an extra or missing chromosome.
- It runs in the family.
If you notice any of these conditions or any unknown sign in your child, then consult a good oncologist as soon as you can. There are several cancer hospitals in India that are well-equipped with the latest technology for the best results.
How can you spot such kind of tumor in your child?
Depending on the type of tumor and its location, the common symptoms are:
- Severe belly pain
- Swelling in the belly
- A mass on your ovaries or testicles
- Chest pain
- Bathroom problems: if the tumor is near the pelvis, then your child may face trouble while pooping or holding the pee.
- Testicles of the wrong shape or size.
- Wheezing, if the tumor is near the lungs.
- Weakness in your legs, if the tumor is near the lower back.
What types of tests are recommended by the doctor?
It is advisable to make an appointment at the best hospital for cancer in India. They offer state-of-the-art infrastructure, modern equipment as well as perform tests to detect the actual cause at minimal cost. To detect the actual cause, your examiner may perform the following tests:
- Biopsy: If biopsy, your doctor takes your child’s specimen to detect the tumor and then guides further treatment accordingly.
- Blood tests: A blood test is a basic thing to test any kind of disease or tumor. It helps to check the overall health of your liver, kidneys as well as blood. If your doctor wants to confirm any genetic reason behind this condition, then he may also recommend a genetic test.
- Imaging Test: CT scans, bone scans, MRI, X-ray or ultrasound confirm the exact location of the tumor or where it has spread.
Like any other tumor, the tumor is also treated on the basis of the patient’s overall health, age, etc. Depending on the stage of the tumor, the treatment may include several cycles. Your physician will figure out what kind of treatment is needed.
- Surgery: If nothing brings positive results, then your physician is only left with surgery. If it’s the tumor, then your doctor may also remove the organ where the tumor is located.
- Chemotherapy: It is a procedure in which radiations with a heavy dose of drugs are used to kill cancerous cells. It is used when the tumor is spread to the other parts of the body.
- Radiation Therapy: A high dose of radiations from X-rays are used to kill the tumor.
Although there are several types of germ cell tumors. You have to be alert and consult a cancer specialist if you notice any relevant signs or symptoms in your child. Never delay if it’s a matter of your child.