What to know about pediatric cancers and proton therapy
11:19 AM, Nov 26, 2018
While cancers in children are only about 1 percent of the total number of cancers diagnosed each year, according to the American Cancer Society, it can seem particularly devastating when a young person is faced with that diagnosis. In 2018, 10,590 children under 15 were expected to be diagnosed with cancer, and about 1,180 children were expected to die from it.
But the outlook is far better now than it was in the 1970s, when the five-year survival rate was just under 60 percent. Now, more than 80 percent of children with cancer survive five years or more, the ACS says.
Specialized care is required for children dealing with cancer. Treatments are similar to what adults receive, but they do have particular needs that will be different, and it’s important for them to be followed by specialists who are trained to take care of these needs.
Common treatments include “surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and stem cell transplant,” according to the National Cancer Institute. Doctors use personalized combinations of available treatments to best help each patient.
Chemotherapy is a typical treatment for many childhood cancers because they often tend to be the types of cancers that grow quickly, the ACS says. Fast-growing cancers are the kinds that most forms of chemotherapy affect.