LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - When a child has pain, it’s easy for parents to worry about the worst possible scenario, cancer.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a good time to understand what could be a symptom and when not to worry.
Dr. Mohamad Al Rahawan is a pediatric oncologist in Lubbock who says, "The symptoms are many. The most common are frequent headaches, trouble with a fever that doesn't go away, easy bruising, pale, fatigue. All those can be a sign of cancer."
Dr. Mohamed Al Rahawan says in a typical year, Lubbock doctors see between 40 to 50 new cases of childhood cancer. More red flags would include unexplained weight loss or a mysterious lump on the body. So, how long do you wait and watch before asking: Could it be cancer?
He says, "The key here is if it persists for a while, and the 'while' I define as two weeks."
He adds that's not a timeline for cancer, just a reasonable time to begin further evaluation.
Time is not just important in terms of how long a problem persists, but the time of day matters too, especially when it comes to regular headaches that show up every morning.
He says that alone can be a clue.
"Morning headaches are concerning. And that is because when kids lay down, the pressure in the head increases and typically will start morning headaches."
And there's one more unique sign that may point to cancer. He says take a close look at photographs after you point a camera at your child and shoot with a flash.
He says "If you have a white pupil, a reflection that's not pink or red, a white reflection is a cancer sign for eye cancer called retinoblastoma."
However, before you study your pictures in a panic, remember that we can all take bad pictures. But, if you find a consistent white glow in one or both eyes of a child, that may be a clue to cancer, or at least reason enough to take those photos to your pediatrician.
Covenant Health and University Medical Center are teaming up to fight childhood cancer this Saturday.
They're both sponsoring a walk to raise funds for cancer research.
Everyone is invited to join the effort this Saturday, Sept. 28, from 9 a.m. to noon.
The Lubbock Pediatric Cancer Walk will start at Buddy Holly Park at North University and Canyon Lakes Drive.