What Causes Childhood Cancer?
What Causes Childhood Cancer?

What Causes Childhood Cancer?

Palestine Children’s Relief Fund Opened the First Children’s Cancer Ward in Gaza

At its most basic, cancer is a disease caused by mutations within a cell. The body usually kills this new cell before it can cause any harm, but sometimes cancer cells, which grow and multiply faster than healthy ones, get out of control. Cancer is separated into different types depending on where it originated, and whether it has spread to other body parts (causing a tumor) or other organs (causing metastasis).

Cancer is relatively rare in children and it’s difficult to pinpoint a specific cause. An adult may have certain habits, such as smoking, that might put them at risk, but children are too young to have adopted unhealthy habits. Certain genetic conditions, such as Down syndrome, can sometimes increase the risk of cancer, as does previous chemotherapy or radiation. A strong family history of cancer can be a factor, but these genes are very rare. Childhood cancers are almost always caused by a random, uninherited DNA mutation. It’s impossible to prevent a child from developing cancer, and not anyone’s fault when one does. Most children with the disease respond well to treatment and get better.

Children develop leukemia most often. Other types of cancer include brain and nervous system cancers, lymphoma and tumors such as Wilms’ tumors, neuroblastoma or osteosarcoma.

Pediatric oncology treatment for children can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell transplants. Depending on the type of cancer and its severity, doctors may use one or more of these options.

PCRF is proud to be one of the most respected and active nonprofit humanitarian medical relief organizations working in the Middle East. In 2019 we opened our Dr. Musa And Suhaila Nasir Pediatric Cancer Department at Al Rantisi Children’s Specialized Hospital. The first of its kind in the Gaza Strip, this provides a solution for children who might otherwise have to travel through blockaded areas in order to receive treatment in Israel and the West Bank. We address not just the medical issues of cancer but also the emotional ones for both our young patients and their parents. We make it a priority to provide mental health support to the children we treat. Learn more about our efforts to fight childhood cancer by visiting our website. If you’d like to contribute to an effective, non-political, non-religious nonprofit, please consider a donation to help support our efforts.


The Palestine Children's Relief Fund was established in 1992 by concerned humanitarians in the USA to bring injured and sick children for free medical care they could not get locally. Since then, we have sent over 2,000 sick and injured children for free medical care, as well as sponsored hundreds of volunteer medical teams from all over the world to treat tens of thousands of sick and injured youths in local hospitals. PCRF also has built two pediatric cancer departments in Palestine and has several major programs and projects taking place to help support the development of a sustainable health-care system there.