Depending upon the type and stage of cancer, cancer management in children varies. The staging of cancer depends upon the spreading of cancer.
The primary management for childhood cancer is surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Stem cell transplant is also available for some types of childhood cancers.
Some novel treatments are targeted therapy, immunotherapy is also increasing day by day in childhood cancer management practice.
Combination of treatment
Usually, treatment response is better in childhood cancer. Chemotherapy often works better in cancer management for children. It is suggested that chemo works better against faster-growing cancer which is often common in childhood cancer.
Children often have a better recovery rate with a higher dose of chemotherapy compared with adults. Doctors often recommend chemotherapy for cancer management in childhood.
However, it often associates with short and long-term side effects. In contrast with chemotherapy, the chances of side effects are higher with radiation therapy, especially for children/ very young children than in adults.
Therefore, the use of radiation is less likely in cancer management in children. Therefore, doctors often try to balance the dose of every treatment by combining different treatments to minimize the side effects as much as possible for both the short-term and long-term.
Childhood cancer management is a teamwork
The cancer patients and their family members both require special attention in the case of childhood cancer. A healthcare team with jointly work together for the betterment of the cancer patient. The healthcare team comprises the following medical staff:
Pediatric oncologists: Clinician with specialization in cancer medicines for treating children.
Pediatric surgeons: surgeons with specialization in cancer surgery in children
Radiation oncologists: Clinician with specialization in radiation to treat cancer
Pediatric oncology nurses: nurses with a specialization in caring for cancer patients with children
Nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs): nurses and other health professionals have specialized training and license to practice medicine alongside oncologists.
Apart from these team members, other health professionals and social workers work jointly for childhood cancer management. Psychologists, child life specialists, educators, nutritionists, physical therapists, and rehabilitation trainers are supporting the complete cure of children with cancer and also support family members to bear with stress.
Different novel therapies are discovering continuously for cancer management. These treatments are undergone clinical trials to check the safety and efficacy of the treatment before being widely available for all patients.
Doctors sometimes refer to joining a clinical trial in case of available treatments do not provide many responsive results. Joining clinical trials is usually safe, as designing clinical trials for children and adolescents with cancer are potentially better therapy with therapy that is currently accepted as standard.