How long does treatment take?

Author:  Gesche Tallen, MD, PhD, Editor:  Maria Yiallouros, Reviewer:  Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. Günter Henze, English Translation:  Hannah McRae, Last modification: 2020/05/14

Cancer treatment consists of various phases. For treatment of acute leukaemia, for example, chemotherapy is divided into a so-called induction, consolidation, and maintenance therapy.

In general, the duration and intensity of the treatment depends on the type, the biological features of a cancer as well as on how the disease responds to the treatment and how the patient tolerates it.

Each treatment protocol includes an illustrated overview of the therapy plan giving information on each part of the therapy. It shows, among other things, the proposed treatment measures, the type of anticancer agents that will be applied, as well as the dates at which tests that are done to check the patient's organ functions and the response to treatment.

These treatment plans may appear intimidating and confusing at first to someone who has never had to deal with something like this before. It’s really not! By consulting regularly with your child’s pediatric oncologist, you and your child can learn together how to read the treatment plan. This gives reassurance to all parties involved. Many pediatric oncology wards will also provide a “child-friendly”, more simply illustrated treatment plan so that the young patient can also understand the intensive treatment that he or she must adapt to and undergo. This often helps them focus better during the course of treatment, as well as understand the timing.

On our pages for the various diseases you will also find information about the specific details of treatment for each childhood cancer.