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Diagnosis and Treatment of Childhood Cancer

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Treating childhood cancer starts with its diagnosis.

A childhood cancer diagnosis is a search for information, much like a detective solving a mystery. The care team must gather clues to know how to best treat each child’s case of cancer.

The tools the team uses include physical examination, medical history, laboratory tests, and imaging tests. High-powered computers and advanced technology allow doctors to learn each cancer’s cellular and genetic features. Imaging tests show how cancer looks and behaves inside the body.

The information tells a story. It reveals the type of cancer, how aggressive it is, if it has spread to other parts of the body, and how likely it is to respond to different treatments.

Doctors at the pediatric cancer center use this information to develop an individual plan of treatment. It could include chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy.

Sometimes families choose to participate in a clinical trial to help doctors gather information about new treatments.

Each therapy has certain side effects. The care team will treat those along with the cancer itself.

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