For decades, medical treatment has been dedicated to improving the survival rates of children with cancer. Thanks to groundbreaking research and advances in medicine, the number of pediatric cancer survivors is steadily growing.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death among children and adolescents in the United States. Yet despite this alarming reality, much progress has been made over the years to increase survival rates for pediatric cancer patients. In fact, recent research suggests that childhood cancer mortality rates have significantly decreased by approximately 40%.
The first major milestone in treating pediatric cancers was chemotherapy. It was discovered that combining two or more drugs could be an effective way to prevent the further spread of cancer cells throughout the body. Today, doctors use a variety of drugs that target different types of tumors with more precision and accuracy than ever before – often resulting in higher survival rates for their young patients.
Radiation therapy is another cornerstone in treating childhood cancers and has played an integral role in improving survival rates for many types of tumors, including brain and lymphoma cancers. This therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other particles to damage or kill cancer cells while sparing normal tissue from harm as much as possible. Radiation can also be used to shrink tumors prior to surgery or after chemotherapy to prevent a recurrence.
Surgery is another important tool that has helped improve long-term outcomes for many childhood cancers such as Wilms tumor (a type of kidney cancer) and retinoblastoma (an eye tumor). Generally, surgery can be used to remove tumors or diseased organs if they have not spread beyond their original site, and are at an early stage of development.
Finally, newer therapies such as stem cell transplantation, gene therapy, and immunotherapy are starting to make their way into pediatric oncology wards across the country – offering even greater hope for improved survival and quality of life for children with cancer. Stem cell transplants involve replacing a patient’s existing blood stem cells with healthy ones from a donor. Gene therapy involves altering genes to better fight off disease, and immunotherapy works by boosting a patient’s own immune system so it can better recognize and attack cancer cells.
Thanks to these amazing advancements in medical technology, today more children are surviving cancers than any other time in history – allowing them to lead healthier lives into adulthood than ever before thought possible. With continued research and innovation, we may someday soon see even greater improvements in pediatric cancer treatment – giving us all something positive to look forward to!