Pediatric oncology is a medical field that focuses on treating cancer in children and adolescents. Although many types of cancer are common in both adults and children, children have unique needs that require special attention. Pediatric oncologists are professionals who have received specialized training to provide treatment to kids and young adults. By ensuring timely diagnosis and proper treatment, pediatric oncologists can cure more than 80% of children with malignant diseases, and in some cases, over 90% of cancer patients who are children can be treated entirely thanks to the advancements in medical technology. It is crucial to choose a pediatric oncologist who is well-trained to provide the best possible care to children.
There are different types of cancer that can occur in children, including primary and secondary cancer, spinal cord and brain tumors, leukemia, lymphoma, Wilms tumor, neuroblastoma, retinoblastoma, sarcoma, and germ cell tumors. Children must be screened for cancer if they experience sudden weight loss, extreme weakness, unexplained paleness, sudden changes in vision, unusual swelling, a persistent fever, constant headaches with vomiting, and easy bruising and bleeding. However, these symptoms may also be related to other infections. Therefore, it is advised to seek professional medical help if the symptoms persist for an extended period.
To find a suitable pediatric oncologist, parents can start by researching the database of medical associations, comparing the credentials of different doctors, speaking to the staff of the doctors, and checking for online reviews. Additionally, parents can ask for the number of years of experience the doctor has, the number of patients treated, whether they take new patients or not, whether the doctor is up-to-date with the latest advancements, and whether they participate in clinical trials. After the diagnosis, pediatric oncologists use various methods such as biopsy, blood tests, bone marrow aspiration, lumbar puncture, ultrasound, CT, MRI, and PET scans to diagnose and treat pediatric cancer.
Pediatric oncologists understand the emotional and psychological effects cancer can have on the patients and their families. They provide mental and emotional support by referring the families to psychologists, which helps them cope with the diagnosis and treatment.
Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery are the three primary treatment modalities used for cancers affecting the central nervous system. Radiotherapy is a crucial intervention that has been proven to increase the lifespan of patients with primary or metastatic tumors. Additionally, chemotherapy is widely employed to alleviate and manage symptoms.