During the pre-teen years, girls and boys go through a number of changes including physical, emotional, cognitive and social. During this period, children’s bodies, emotions as well as identities change in different ways at different times.
From about 10 to 11 years of age, girls might start to notice early physical developments. These changes may likewise occur as early as when a child reaches 8 years old or as old as 13 for some. These physical changes are indicators that the child is entering the puberty stage, and includes a change in height, hair growth, as well as start of monthly periods.
On the other hand, boys experience physical changes that normally start when they reach the age between 11-12 years old. However, there are those that notice these changes as 9, or as old as 14. Physical changes including the increase in height, change of the quality of voice, hair growth, and so on.
As the child enters the puberty pre-teen period, they may be observed to show strong feelings as well as intense emotions at different times. Mood swing is encountered often, which usually lead to increased conflict. This is due to the fact that the child’s brain is still learning how to control as well as express emotions in a way grown-ups would.
They also gradually become better at reading and processing other people’s emotions, that there are times, as they develop these skills, he or she can sometimes misread facial expressions or body language.
They are often observe to be more self-conscious, especially about the physical changes.
As the development progresses, they feel the need to be busy to understand who they are and how they fit into the world. The search for self-identify is affected by several factors, including their significant others, and many other elements.
As they seek for self-identity, they tend to be more independent and starts to seek new experiences that provide them with a way to suffice their need to prove their worth. During this stage, they are more concerned about creating their own set of values and morals.
As they find their way to find a new identity, they tend to be influenced by their friends more. This starts their journey to explore new relationships, including with the opposite sex. Nonetheless, these are not necessarily intimate relationships. For some young individuals, intimate or sexual relationships do not just happen but until later on in their lives.
Changes in relationships
As they enter maturity, their relationships with family as well as with peers normally undergo dramatic changes. It is vital to note that maintaining strong relationships with both family and friends is necessary for healthy social as well as emotional development for these young adults.
However, as these individuals start to want to spend more time with their peers and friends, they find it easier to disregard their time with their parents and relative. It is also important to note that as observed, short term choices of children are normally influenced by their peers. However, long-term choices such as career development and other decisions for needed for the long drag, are most often affected by their parents.
Teens and Cancer
With the changes that children undergo as they enter adulthood, significant others also observe variations in their lifestyle, which may make them prone or allow them to catch a number of diseases, including the life threatening cancer.
The National Cancer Institute proves that around 70,000 young people are affected by cancer every year. This accounts to only about five percent of all the cancer cases that are observed every year, and is six times the number of cases observed in children ages 0-14.
Moreover, adolescents are found to be more likely to be diagnosed with certain cancers than either younger children or older adults. Type of cancers that these young adults may be diagnosed with include Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma, testicular cancer, thyroid cancer, as well as sarcomas. Occurrence of certain cancer types differ according to age. For instance, leukemia, lymphoma, testicular cancer, as well as thyroid cancer are the most common types among young adults between ages 15 to 24 years old. For those who are within the ages between 25 to 39 years of age, breast cancer and melanoma are the most common types of cancer to be affecting them.
The National Cancer Institute identifies the following as the most common cancers in adolescents and young adults:
- Brain and other Central Nervous System Tumors
- Germ Cell Tumors
- Extracranial Germ Cell Tumor (Childhood)
- Extragonadal Germ Cell Tumor
- Soft Tissue Sarcoma
- Uterine Sarcoma
Diagnosing cancer in teens
Even with the availability of experts in the field and the frequent visits to medical practitioners that teens normally undergo, still studies show that cancers during these period are often diagnosed at a later time than they are in other age groups.
Reasons for the delays are identified as follows:
- Young adults are normally healthy and might not go to a medical practitioner unless they feel that they really need to. This is an established truth especially when it concerns men.
- As during these years, the young adult normally hunger for independence, they establish a different lifestyle and identity. As such, their priorities change, leaving health concerns taken as the least significant of all the items in the list. Their time are spent mostly on other things such as friends, dating, working, or getting ready for college.
- Even when they visit the doctor for a health concern, cancer is normally not on their topmost concern. Perhaps, it’s the perceived stamina and all other positive factors that go with age that make them pass over the probability of having any of the cancer types. There are chances that even doctors might be more likely to think that the symptoms they experience such as pain or feeling tired are caused by other sickness. This delays the diagnosis for any cancer type that may already be developing in the young body.
Considering all these observations, it is important to ascertain the real condition of your child, especially if the changes that you observe might be caused or causing symptoms other the usual concerns that children of these ages experience. Early detection and treatment are much needed to ensure that any form of cancer will be treated soonest.