Treatments for children with cancer are most commonly handled at pediatric cancer centers, where they can receive a variety of support services. Support services not only look after the child with cancer, but they take in the needs of the family as well. In most cases, children receive support from an entire team, which may include cancer specialists, counselors, physical therapists, nutritionists and social workers.
Determining a Treatment
Children and infants are evaluated as individuals to decide on the best solution for their situation and variety of cancer. Many different factors are examined before making decisions on treatments such as:
Depending upon the variety of cancer and size, surgical oncologists will often opt to remove tumors and surrounding tissues by performing surgery. It’s not uncommon to recommend radiation therapy, chemotherapy or other types of therapies after tumor removal to destroy any microscopic tumors, which could be left after performing surgery.
Side effects can vary based upon the type of cancer and where it’s located.
Research has shown that radiation therapy may often be effective in lieu of surgery for children. This therapy uses a high-energy x-ray, which destroys cancer cells, and it is normally provided using a machine outside of the body by a radiation oncologist.
Radiation therapies consist of several applications, which are performed according to a set schedule. Depending on which area is being treated, there may be temporary side effects, which could include diarrhea, nausea, skin reactions and fatigue.
Parents of children seeking cancer solutions may choose to look into chemotherapy, which uses drugs for destroying cancer cells. They stop cancer cell growth and the ability to divide and reproduce.
Each child may incur different types of side effects, but many kids may suffer from hair loss, diarrhea, increased bleeding, vomiting, appetite loss and nausea for a short time.
Chemotherapy is commonly given intravenously or orally in a capsule or pill form. This medical treatment may consist of one or more drugs given simultaneously on a pre-determined schedule over time.
Parents may find it comforting to know that cancer in children is not very common, and many cancer treatments are very successful. Besides completing a treatment, it is equally important for parents to provide love and support while remaining optimistic.