Acme Hospital: Fighting Childhood Cancer
Pediatric oncology is a medical specialty that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in children and adolescents. Cancer is a disease that occurs when abnormal cells grow and spread uncontrollably in the body, causing harm and sometimes death. Cancer can affect any part of the body, such as the blood, brain, bone, skin, or organs. Some of the common types of cancer in children are leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors, neuroblastoma, Wilms tumor, and osteosarcoma.
Pediatric oncologists are doctors who have specialized training and knowledge in pediatric oncology. They can provide comprehensive and compassionate care for children with cancer and their families. They can also conduct research and education to improve the understanding and outcomes of childhood cancer.
Pediatric oncologists work in various settings, such as hospitals, clinics, academic centers, and private practices. They collaborate with other health professionals, such as pediatricians, surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, nurses, therapists, psychologists, and social workers, to provide holistic and multidisciplinary care for children with cancer.
Pediatric oncologists use different methods to diagnose and treat cancer in children. Some of these methods are:
- Biopsy: A procedure that involves taking a small sample of tissue from the affected area and examining it under a microscope to look for cancer cells.
- Imaging tests: Tests that use X-rays, ultrasound, MRI, CT scan, or PET scan to create pictures of the inside of the body and show the location and size of the tumor.
- Blood tests: Tests that measure the levels of certain substances in the blood that may indicate the presence or activity of cancer.
- Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy: A procedure that involves taking a small amount of bone marrow (the soft tissue inside the bones that produces blood cells) from the hip or chest bone and examining it under a microscope to look for cancer cells
- Lumbar puncture: A procedure that involves inserting a needle into the lower back and collecting some cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord) to look for cancer cells or other signs of infection or inflammation.
- Staging: A process that determines how far the cancer has spread in the body and helps plan the best treatment. Cancer can be staged from I to IV, with lower numbers indicating less spread and higher numbers indicating more spread.
- Chemotherapy: A treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. Chemotherapy can be given by mouth, injection, or infusion. Chemotherapy can cause side effects such as hair loss, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, infection, bleeding, or organ damage.
- Radiation therapy: A treatment that uses high-energy rays or particles to destroy cancer cells or shrink tumors. Radiation therapy can be given externally (from a machine outside the body) or internally (from radioactive materials placed inside the body near the tumor). Radiation therapy can cause side effects such as skin irritation, hair loss, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or infertility.
- Surgery: A treatment that involves removing part or all of the tumor and some surrounding normal tissue. Surgery can also be used to relieve symptoms or complications caused by the tumor. Surgery can cause side effects such as pain, bleeding, infection, scarring, or loss of function.
- Immunotherapy: A treatment that uses substances made by the body or in a laboratory to boost the immune system’s ability to fight cancer. Immunotherapy can be given by injection or infusion. Immunotherapy can cause side effects such as fever, chills, rash, itching, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or low blood pressure.
- Stem cell transplantation: A treatment that involves replacing damaged or destroyed bone marrow with healthy stem cells (immature blood cells) from the patient’s own body or from a donor. Stem cell transplantation can be used after high-dose chemotherapy or radiation therapy to restore the blood cell production. Stem cell transplantation can cause side effects such as infection, graft-versus-host disease (when donor cells attack the patient’s cells), organ damage, or infertility.
- Targeted therapy: A treatment that uses drugs or other substances to target specific molecules involved in the growth and survival of cancer cells. Targeted therapy can be given by mouth or infusion. Targeted therapy can cause side effects such as rash,