Oncology is a very important and delicate branch of medicine. Oncology includes prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Pediatric oncology is a multidiscipline branch of medicine which deals with childhood cancers. It is also known as pediatric hematology/ oncology because of the blood cancers which are common in children. Pediatric oncology works closely with other specialties in medicine for surgery and other treatments.
What Does Pediatric Oncology Deals With?
Pediatric oncology deals with childhood cancers. Oncologists who work in pediatric oncology are trained to care for children and their cancers. Pediatric oncology manages the diagnosis and treatment of cancers.
What Are Childhood Cancers?
- Children can face many cancer types. Cancer can be experienced at every age. Some cancers can be mild while others can be severe. Some cancers types that are often treated in pediatric oncology department are:
- Brain tumors
- Neuroblastoma (Cancers originating from primitive nerve cells)
- Soft tissue sarcomas
- Wilms tumor (kidney tumor)
Bone tumors (Osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma)
- Retinoblastoma (Eye tumor)
- Germ cell tumors (reproductive cell tumor)
- Liver cancers
- Retinoblastoma (Eye tumor)
- Rare tumors of childhood
- Lymphadenopathy (differential diagnosis of inf gland size)
- Diseases with high tumor risk (tuberous sclerosis, Neurofibromatosis etc.)
- Benign tumors
- Hemangiomas and vascular malformations
- Some congenital anomalies (hemihypertrophy, aniridia)
- The most common cancer amongst children is Leukemia. Oncologists treat many leukemia patients in the clinic every day.
What Tests Does Pediatric Oncology Do?
- Pediatric oncology uses so many laboratory and radiological tests to diagnose cancer and define its stages. Oncologists decide the tests that are needed according to their knowledge. Those tests are:
- Hemogram (blood count)
- Blood smear (related to cell typing and rates),
- Sedimentation (red cell collapse rate),
- Viral serology (for the identification of some viral diseases),
- For the differential diagnosis of tuberculosis (PPD, cultures),
- Complete urinalysis,
- Stool examinations,
- Lung x-ray film,
- Neck ultrasonography,
- Abdominal ultrasonography,
- Kidney ultrasonography.
- Bone marrow aspiration and biopsies,
- Computed tomography (CT) of the chest area,
- Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Abdominal MRI,
- CT and MRI of the relevant bone and other parts of the body,
- Positron emission tomography (PET CT) in some tumors, especially lymphomas,
- Some tumor-specific enzymes and protein markers
What Treatments Does Pediatric Oncology Have?
Contrary to what is known, there are many treatment methods for cancer types. Those methods are being used daily in pediatric oncology clinics.
Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery are the options that treat cancer in pediatric oncology. There are also some supporting treatments to help kids deal with harder treatments such as chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is an effective treatment for cancer.