Childhood cancers are different from adult cancers and are highly curable. They usually respond well to chemotherapy because they tend to be cancers that grow fast. (Most forms of chemotherapy affect cells that are growing quickly.) Children also have better tolerance to higher doses of chemotherapy than are adults. Using more intensive treatments gives doctors a better chance of treating the cancer effectively, but it can also lead to more short- and long-term side effects. Unlike chemotherapy, radiation can often cause more serious side effects in children (especially very young children) than in adults, so its use sometimes needs to be limited.
Treatment of childhood cancer in dedicated centers like ours is coordinated by a team of experts who know the differences between adult and childhood cancers, as well as the unique needs of children with cancer and their families. This team usually includes Pediatric oncologists, Pediatric surgeons, Radiation oncologists, Orthopaedic surgeons, Pediatric oncology nurses, psychologists, social workers, child life specialists, nutritionists, rehabilitation and physical therapists, and educators who can support and care for the entire family.
Surgery forms an integral part of treating most solid tumors and organ preservation is of topmost concern, e.g. renal preserving surgery, fertility preserving surgery, limb salvage surgery, etc. We do our best to balance the need for intensive treatment with the desire to limit side effects as much as possible.
Childhood tumors for which surgeries are routinely performed in our department include:
In addition, minimally invasive surgeries like laparoscopy, Video assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) and robotic assisted surgeries are also done in select children.
Since childhood cancers are highly curable, surgical intervention is aimed at providing optimum disease control without any long term side effects or disability. This is easily achievable with excellent pediatric anesthesia and post operative ICU care in collaboration with the Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology and other supportive departments in the hospital.