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Chemotherapy in pediatric cancer. What is worth knowing?

MedExpress Team

Published Oct. 24, 2023 09:46

Chemotherapy in pediatric cancer. What is worth knowing? - Header image
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Chemotherapy is a basic and frequently used form of cancer treatment that, despite its many side effects, is very effective. Its task is to remove all cancer cells from the patient's body. It is used in both adults and children. What is worth knowing about chemotherapeutic treatment?

Pediatric cancers require complex treatment, which can consist of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgical treatment, as well as bone marrow transplantation. The type of therapy is tailored individually to each patient and depends primarily on the type of cancer. The most common treatment for pediatric cancer is chemotherapy.

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is a method involving the use of cytostatic agents, i.e. drugs designed to destroy or inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells. The type of chemotherapy depends primarily on the type of tumor and, among other things, what additional risk factors exist.

- Chemotherapy is divided into initial, or neoadjuvant (induction) chemotherapy, which is used before surgery or radiation therapy or until remission in the case of oncohematological diseases, and follow-up, or adjuvant (consolidation) chemotherapy. This one, in turn, is used after primary treatment. In this phase, the choice of drugs depends on the response to previous chemotherapy and the presence of possible other disease foci. Each patient requires an individual approach and the selection of a treatment method that is suitable for him. Only with such a treatment can we achieve the best results," explains Professor Anna Raciborska, Head of the Department of Oncology and Oncologic Surgery of Children and Adolescents at the Mother and Child Institute.

Chemotherapeutic treatment most often uses several drugs, which are administered during the various stages of treatment. For solid tumors, there are usually about three-week rest periods between cycles of chemotherapy, lasting from a few minutes to a few days. The breaks in medication allow the body to rebuild healthy cells. During chemotherapy, it is often necessary in addition to blood tests or X-rays or ultrasounds.

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