Chemotherapy for Pediatric Cancers
Among the types of treatment that are currently used for cancer in children and teens, chemotherapy is the first-line option to combat many different kinds of malignancies. Chemotherapy’s advantages, such as working in any area of the body, became apparent through decades of research by our partners in the Children’s Oncology Group, but its side effects can be especially painful and harsh for young patients and their families.
The more funding that is available, the more support children who are diagnosed with cancer today can access, and the better young people will be able to be cured of cancer in the future. Donate to DCG Giving today and 100% of your gift will benefit local pediatric cancer institutions across the US, or read further to learn more about the use of chemotherapy to treat childhood cancers.
What is Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is a form of cancer treatment that attacks the disease by using cytotoxic drugs – pharmaceuticals that either directly cause cell death or stop cell division. While there are many drugs that may be prescribed for chemotherapy with many different complex methods of action, the basic idea is simple. Cancers all cause the kinds of cells they affect to divide rapidly and produce abnormal, unhealthy new cells. If all the cancerous cells die or are unable to divide, they will no longer be dangerous and can no longer either spread or regrow.
When chemotherapy drugs are introduced into the bloodstream, they can be carried to cells anywhere in the body. Modern pharmaceuticals for chemotherapy are also very effective and often have a very good chance to cure patients. Unfortunately, they also usually indiscriminately affect any kind of rapidly dividing cells, whether malignant or not. This is why the most common side effects of chemotherapy include immunosuppression and hair loss – white blood cells and hair follicle cells both are rapid dividers when healthy. Using chemotherapy also depends on physicians finding the exact right dosage. Too little will fail to damage tumors sufficiently and allow them to grow back, while too much can make the patient extremely sick.
The side effects of chemotherapy severely affect kids and teens at home, at school, and in all aspects of life, meaning that psychological and social support is crucial.
Supporting Children Undergoing Chemotherapy and Their Families
Among the programs run by member institutions of the Children’s Oncology Group are ones offering vital supportive care to young people with cancer. Efforts like these aim to help children and teenagers heal better, remain connected to their friends and peers, and find strength in the compassion of the community around them. Ultimately, it is such programs that allow young cancer patients to cope with intensive treatments such as chemotherapy as best they can, leading to better outcomes overall.
Donate to DCG Giving Today – Help Us Advance Pediatric Cancer Treatment
Your contribution to DCG Giving will wholly benefit local pediatric cancer institutions doing much-needed work for young people suffering from this terrible disease. We not only fund research into emerging treatments, but also programs that enhance the psychosocial well-being of children and teens diagnosed with cancer. Please donate today – every gift has an incredible positive impact.