CHILDHOOD CANCER TREATMENT
The treatment of cancer in children can include chemotherapy (the use of medical drugs to kill cancer cells), Radiation(the use of radiant energy to kill cancer cells), and surgery (to remove cancerous cells or tumors). The type of treatment needed depends on the type and severity of cancer and the child's age. Chemotherapy is medication which is used as a complementary tool to eliminate remaining cancer cells in the body. A child or teen is usually given the chemotherapy drugs intravenously (through a vein) or orally (by mouth). Some forms of chemotherapy can be given intrathecally, or into the spinal fluid. The drugs enter the bloodstream and work to kill cancer cells. The duration of chemotherapy treatment and type of drugs that are used depend on the type of cancer the child has and his or her response to the drugs. Every child's treatment differs, so a child may receive daily, weekly, or monthly chemotherapy treatments. The doctor may also recommend cycles of treatment, which allow the child's body to rest between periods of chemotherapy treatment.
Radiation : A child who receives radiation therapy is treated with a stream of high-energy particles or waves that destroy or damage cancer cells in parts of the body to which the cancer has spread . Many types of childhood cancer are treated with radiation in conjunction with chemotherapy or surgery.
Surgery : In children with osteosarcoma and other solid tumors that haven't spread to other parts of the body, surgery can often effectively remove cancer when used in combination with chemotherapy and/or radiation.
Bone Marrow Transplants: Bone marrow is a spongy tissue inside certain bones of the body that produces blood cells. If a child has a type of cancer that affects the function of blood cells, a bone marrow transplant (in conjunction with chemotherapy to kill the defective cells) may allow new, healthy cells to grow. Bone marrow transplant is also sometimes used to treat cancer that does not involve blood cells because it allows doctors to use higher doses of chemotherapy than would otherwise be tolerated.
Targeted therapies : In recent years, new drugs that target specific parts of cancer cells have been developed. These targeted drugs work differently from standard chemotherapy drugs.They sometimes work when chemo drugs don’t, and they often have different (and less severe) side effects. For instance, drugs such as imatinib (Gleevec) and dasatinib (Sprycel) specifically attack cells that have the Philadelphia chromosome (a shortened chromosome 22 that results from a translocation with chromosome 9). Nearly all children with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) have this abnormal chromosome in their leukemia cells. These drugs are very effective at controlling the leukemia for long periods of time in most of these children, although it’s not yet clear if the drugs can help cure CML.