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Health Information For Parents
Every cell in the body has a system that controls how it grows, how it interacts with other cells, and how long it lives. Sometimes, cells lose that control and grow in a way that the body can no longer control. This is called cancer.
There are different kinds of cancer, but they develop in the same way as the cells:
As cancer cells grow, they can make a person weaker, harm organs and bones, and make it hard for the body to fight off other illnesses.
Cancer is uncommon in children, but can happen. The most common childhood cancers are:
Pediatric, or childhood, cancers and how they’re treated have important differences from cancers that adults get, such as:
Most of the time, doctors don’t know why kids get cancer. In children, a genetic condition, such as Down syndrome, can sometimes increase the risk of cancer. Kids who have had chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer are more likely to get cancer again.
But most cases of childhood cancer happen because of random mutations (changes) in the genes of growing cells. Because these changes happen randomly, there is no effective way to prevent them.
Getting treatment at a medical center that specializes in pediatric oncology (treatment of childhood cancer) can help kids with cancer get the best care.
The treatment of cancer in children can include:
Doctors may use one or more of these treatments for a child who has cancer. The type of treatment needed depends on the child’s age, the type of cancer, and how severe the cancer is.
The main goal when treating kids with cancer is to cure them. While treatment may cause side effects, many medicines and therapies can make kids more comfortable while they’re treated for cancer.
When possible, involve kids with their own cancer treatment. Use language your child will understand and explain the facts about the cancer and its effects. With a younger child — toddlers and those younger than age 4 — saying that they are “sick” and need “medicine” to get better can be enough of an explanation. For all age groups, the goal is to prevent fear and misunderstanding.
Many kids might feel guilty, as if the cancer is somehow their fault. Psychologists, social workers, and other members of the cancer treatment team can be a great help in reassuring them and helping them cope with their feelings.
Having a child being treated for cancer can feel overwhelming for any family. But you’re not alone. To find support, talk to anyone on the care team or a hospital social worker. Many resources are available to help you and your child.
You also can find information and support online at:
Leukemia refers to cancers of the white blood cells. With the proper treatment, the outlook for kids with leukemia is quite good.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of childhood cancer. Because it develops and gets worse quickly, prompt treatment is very important. With treatment, most kids are cured.
Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer. Boys are more likely to have osteosarcoma than girls, and most cases of osteosarcoma involve the knee.
These cancers are the most common type of cancer in children. When discovered early, they often can be cured.
Brain tumors are the second most common group of childhood cancers. Treatment requires a very specialized plan involving a team of medical specialists.
Chemotherapy (chemo) is treatment with medicines that stop the growth of cancer cells.
Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, irradiation, or X-ray therapy, is one of the most common forms of cancer treatment.
It’s normal for kids to have hair loss, skin changes, or weight gain during treatment. This article offers tips for helping kids feel better about their appearance.
When chemotherapy and other treatments attack cancer cells, they can affect some of the body’s healthy cells too. As a teen, you’ll want to know what this can mean to your fertility.
Cancer is a serious illness that needs special treatment. Find out more about how kids can cope with cancer.
When kids get cancer, it can often be treated and cured. Find out more in this article for kids.
If your doctor prescribed steroids as part of your treatment for an illness, don’t worry. It’s not the illegal, doping scandal kind of steroid. Get the details in this article for teens.
Lymphoma is cancer that begins in the body’s lymphatic tissue. It’s a common type of cancer in children, but most recover from it.
Get the basics on cancer and cancer treatments in this article.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) happens when the body makes too many immature white blood cells. Among kids with leukemia, 20% have this type. With treatment, most recover.
From treatments and prevention to coping with the emotional aspects of cancer, the Cancer Center provides comprehensive information that parents need.
When your child has a serious or chronic illness, it’s hard to think beyond the next treatment. But with planning and communication, you can help your child balance treatment and academics.
When a friend has cancer, you might not know what to do or say. Get some ideas in this article for kids.
Chemotherapy is a big word for treatment with medicines used to help people who have cancer. This medicine kills the cancer cells that are making the person sick.
More than half of all people with cancer are treated with radiation therapy. Get the facts on radiation therapy, including what it is, what to expect, and how to cope with side effects.
Chemotherapy (chemo) is treatment with medicines that stop the growth of cancer cells. Find out how chemo works and what to expect when getting treatment.
Every student finds it hard to stay on top of schoolwork sometimes. So what happens when you have to miss a lot of school? This article for teens offers tips and advice.
If you’ve just finished a long hospital stay, you may have questions about reconnecting with friends and family. Get answers in this article for teens.
Visit our Cancer Center for teens to get information and advice on treating and coping with cancer.
It’s unusual for teens to have cancer, but it can happen. The good news is that most will survive and return to their everyday lives. Learn about how to cope if you or someone you know has cancer.
This promising new type of cancer treatment stimulates a person’s immune system so it is better able to fight disease.
While some cancer treatments have little to no effect on reproductive health, others are more likely cause temporary or permanent infertility.
Eating as well as possible and staying hydrated can help kids undergoing cancer treatment keep up their strength and deal with side effects. These tips can help.
Many families with a child in remission feel empowered to make lifestyle changes that could benefit their child’s health in the future. Here are some tips.
Unlike the steroids that body builders use, steroids used in cancer treatment are safe and help kids feel better.
Testicular cancer is uncommon in boys. Most cases are in young and middle-aged men. It responds well to treatment, especially when itâs found early.
This video for preschoolers with cancer aims to answer common questions and relieve anxiety about hospital stays, medicine, needles, and being separated from parents.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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