BACKGROUND: All cancer has a common process. Cancer cells grow and develop abnormally, destroying nearby healthy cells. As they grow they depend on the body’s nutrition. When a child develops cancer, it drains their strength and destroys their bones and organs, leaving them extremely weak and defenseless against other illnesses. The most common childhood cancers are leukemia, lymphoma, and brain cancer. (Source: www.kidshealth.org)
SYMPTOMS: With cancer affecting nearly 16 out of 100,000 just in the United States, it is very important for parents to take immediate action once it has been diagnosed. Factors that can trigger cancer in kids are usually different from those in cancer, for instance exposure to environmental toxins or smoking. In most instances, children develop cancer from non-inherited mutations in the genes of growing cells. Randomly a doctor can spot early symptoms of cancer through regular checkups. Symptoms, such as fever, anemia, bruising, swollen glands, or infections are also associated with other childhood conditions that are more common than cancer. Unfortunately, this results in both parents and doctors suspecting something else other than cancer. (Source: www.kidshealth.org)
TREATMENT: For children, treatment can include radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. The type of treatment will depend on the child’s age and the type of cancer. Surgery can effectively remove cancer with children who have a solid tumor that has not spread to other parts of the body, when coupled with radiation or chemotherapy. For children, chemotherapy can be administered orally or through a vein; in certain instances, through the spinal fluid. Every child’s treatment is different. It can be received daily, weekly, or monthly. All medications used as chemotherapy come with side effects. Short-term problems can include vomiting, hair loss, anemia, abnormal bleeding, nausea, kidney damage, and increased risk of infection due to bone marrow loss. Long-term problems include infertility, organ damage, growth problems, and increased risk of other cancers. (Source: www.kidshealth.org)
TomoTHERAPY HD: TomoTherapy is a form of radiation that targets precisely tumors while reducing radiation exposure to surrounding normal tissue with the accuracy of CT scanning. With this advanced technology, doctors can sculpt powerful and precise radiation beams to treat tumors. TomoTherapy offers several advantages:
•Before every treatment, it provides a 3D image of the body, so the radiation beams can be targeted according to the size, shape and location of the tumor(s) on that specific day.
•During treatment, it can be adjusted for the intensity and direction of the radiation beams in real time. The revolutionary “slice therapy” approach treats tumors one layer at a time.
•After treatment, side effects are minimized because less radiation reaches healthy tissues and organs. (Source: www.cancercenter.com)