Therapy

This chapter provides information on standard treatment methods for children and adolescents with cancer (such as surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, stem cell transplantation, and supportive therapy). Furthermore, it provides information for preparing for the hospital stay as well as for accompaniment during time of treatment.

Author:  Maria Yiallouros, Gesche Tallen MD, PhD, Editor:  Maria Yiallouros, Reviewer:  Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h. c. Günter Henze, English Translation:  Dr. med. habil. Gesche Tallen, Last modification:  2022/04/03

Children and adolescents with cancer need intensive treatment. The chances of cure are good: more than 80 % of all young patients are surviving cancer in Germany today, for some types of cancer even more than 90 % [ERD2020].

Such a success, however, can only be achieved by an efficient and at the same time gentle, age-appropriate and professional therapy, which requires close collaboration within a caregiver team consisting of paediatric oncologists, radiotherapists, surgeons, pathologists, paediatric psychologists, nursing staff, researchers and many more.

Hence, treatment of children and adolescents with cancer is carried out in specialised centres of large hospitals. In these centres, the highly specialised medical staff is trained in dealing with young cancer patients and is also familiar with the most modern treatment approaches. Also, all members of the caregiver team are in continuous and close connection with the according subject-oriented consortia. They treat their patients according to collectively developed, standardised treatment plans, mostly within the framework of controlled clinical studies that aim at treating patients based on the most recent scientific knowledge while also improving and refining current treatment approaches. In this way, continuous treatment optimisation is warranted.

A large hospital with such a large staff, the numerous investigations, the treatment – and anything associated with it – may understandably create anxiety and confusion. Following the initial shock invariably caused by the diagnosis of the “big C”, you may suddenly feel overwhelmed by all the new information and people, and daily life of the entire family will change abruptly. Being well-informed helps to keep anxiety and confusion better under control. It also helps to feel empowered to targeted questions and to accept support and help – crucial requirements for being a strong advocate of a seriously ill child.

With the following chapters, we would like to inform you on the most relevant treatment methods in paediatric oncology as well as on therapy optimising studies and support you with preparing and accompanying information.

References

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  2. Gadner H, Gaedicke G, Niemeyer CH, Ritter J (Hrsg): Pädiatrische Hämatologie und Onkologie. Springer-Verlag 2006 [URI: http://www.springer.com/ medicine/ pediatrics/ book/ 978-3-540-03702-6] GAD2006
  3. Gutjahr P: Krebs bei Kindern und Jugendlichen. Deutscher Ärzte-Verlag Köln 5. Aufl. 2004 [ISBN: 3769104285] GUT2004