Childhood cancers are devastating illnesses that weigh heavily both on the children they infect and the families they devastate. For many parents, the idea of their children having cancer is the ultimate nightmare, and therefore parents want to do anything possible to prevent that from happening. Unfortunately, surprisingly little is known about childhood cancers and what causes them. As far as oncologists know today, preventing childhood cancer is an inexact science at best. However, there are some basic tips that parents can follow to help generically improve their child’s health and also apply a little of what we do know about what causes childhood cancer.
- Limit exposure to radiation
While this may seem like an incredibly obvious suggestion, limiting your child’s exposure to radiation is always the first step in lowering their susceptibility to childhood cancer. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to limit the amount of exposure your child has to radiation since most exposure to radiation these days comes from treating existing illness, like a child who needs an x-ray to treat a broken bone. It may be worth asking your doctor when in such a situation if radiation exposure can be avoided, but sometimes it is in the best interest of your child to be exposed to a little radiation in order to treat their present injury or illness rather than worrying about the tiny chance of a potential consequence.
- Take folic acid during pregnancy
It has been well known for many years that taking folic acid supplements is important in reducing the occurrence of neural tube defects like spina bifida. However, a recent study out of the University of Toronto have suggested the increased folic acid intake can also be linked to a decrease in the occurrence of neuroblastoma, the most common kind of cancer in infants. Therefore, it is more important than ever that you supplement your folic acid intake during pregnancy and also ensure that your child is getting enough folic acid through nutrition in their childhood.
- Limiting exposure to harmful chemicals
As far as experts know today, exposure to environmental factors like chemicals cannot be definitely linked to childhood cancer. However, many chemicals we come into contact with every day have not even been tested for their effect on humans. Therefore, it might be a good idea of preemptively limit the amount of chemicals you use in a home with small children—just in case. Most chemicals in the home are related to cleaning products, and fortunately there are plenty of eco-friendly and natural cleaning agents available in the market or even in your pantry that can help keep your house clean of both dirt and chemical.
- Check genetic predispositions
Only a small amount of childhood cancers are currently known to be linked to genetic dispositions, but if you know that there is a genetic predisposition in your family then get your child tested early. Also remember that children with certain conditions like Down’s Syndrome and cerebral palsy are more likely to get childhood cancers, so if your child is affect by such a condition then stay vigilant.
- Stay generically healthy
As always, one of the best ways to prevent any kind of illness is to stay generically healthy. Set good habits from an early age and ensure that your child is enjoying a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of exercise. That way, they are less likely to come down with any kind of illness—not just cancer.
Unfortunately, despite all your efforts, your child could still be stuck down with cancer by random chance. However, you can give you child the best chance possible by following the above tips and just by keeping a keen eye on their health. Many cancers are treatable if caught early, so just keep a wary watch on your children and you will be able to rest easier.
This is a guest post by Marianne Ross, a freelance writer on health topic. Currently she’s writing on behalf of FamilyCord.