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Health Information For Parents
Chemotherapy (often called “chemo”) is treatment with medicines that stop the growth of cancer cells.
Chemotherapy works by killing cells that are dividing. Most cancer cells divide quickly so they are more likely to be killed by chemotherapy. Some normal cells that divide quickly can also be destroyed.
Chemo is different from radiation therapy, which can destroy cancer cells in a specific area of the body. Chemotherapy works to treat cancer cells that may have spread throughout the body.
There are several ways to give chemotherapy.
Sometimes, an IV is put into a larger blood vessel under the skin of the upper chest. That way, a child can get chemotherapy and other medicines through the IV and doctors won’t always use a vein in the arm.
Chemo also can be:
Chemo damages or kills cancer cells. But it also can damage normal, healthy cells. This can lead to side effects.
It’s hard to know which side effects a child might have, how long they’ll last, and when they’ll end. They’re different for each child, depending on the type of chemo drug used, the dose, and a child’s general health.
The good news is that most side effects are temporary. As the body’s normal cells recover, the side effects start to go away. If your child has side effects, talk with your doctor. Many common side effects of chemo can be treated or managed.
After chemo, the doctor will check your child’s health during follow-up checkups. The doctor will ask if your child still has any side effects and will watch for any signs that the cancer is coming back.
Your child may have many questions about cancer and its treatment. Be honest when talking about it. Use age-appropriate language and encourage your child to share his or her feelings.
Kids who are worried about starting chemo might benefit from a tour of the hospital or clinic before treatment begins. Also look for support groups for families coping with childhood cancer. Meeting other cancer patients and survivors might help your family develop a network of friends and supporters dealing with the same issues.
Accept help from family and friends, both early in your child’s treatment and later on. Taking care of yourself will help you better care for your child.
Learning that a child has cancer is upsetting, and cancer treatment can be stressful for any family. While it can be a long road, children and teens treated for cancer often go on to lead long, healthy, and happy lives.
And you’re not alone. Doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, child-life therapists, and other members of the care team are there to answer questions and support you and your child before, during, and after chemotherapy.
From treatments and prevention to coping with the emotional aspects of cancer, the Cancer Center provides comprehensive information that parents need.
Side effects of cancer treatment can include flu-like symptoms, hair loss, and blood clotting problems. After treatment ends, most side effects go away.
Long-term side effects, or late effects, happen to many cancer survivors. With early diagnosis and proper follow-up care, most late effects can be treated or cured.
While some cancer treatments have little to no effect on reproductive health, others are more likely cause temporary or permanent infertility.
Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, irradiation, or X-ray therapy, is one of the most common forms of cancer treatment.
Taking care of a chronically ill child is one of the most draining and difficult tasks a parent can face. But support groups, social workers, and family friends often can help.
Cancer is a serious illness that needs special treatment. Find out more about how kids can cope with cancer.
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.
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 video for preschoolers with cancer aims to answer common questions and relieve anxiety about hospital stays, medicine, needles, and being separated from parents.
This promising new type of cancer treatment stimulates a person’s immune system so it is better able to fight disease.
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.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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