Fighting Childhood Cancer Recent advancements in cancer treatments has changed how the disease is viewed and treated.

Glossary

  • Chemotherapy: A form of cancer treatment that is used to kill off all cells in the infected area in hopes that the healthy cells will reform before the cancer regrows, effectively killing the cancer. Generally administered through a cannula(tube) in the arm or chest.
  • Doxorubicin: A popular drug that is used for chemotherapy.
  • Hereditary: A genetic code or trait that is able to be passed on from parent to child.
  • Malignant: Means something is infectious or harmful. Malignant tumors are the deadly tumors and most most complicated to treat as opposed to benign tumors which aren't an immediate risk to health and fairly simple to treat.
  • Diagnosis: a statement syaying what is wrong and generally helps lead into choice of treatment.
  • Oncology: The study of cancer. onco- --> cancer, -ology-->the study of
  • Fibroblasts: Fibroblasts build collagen withing the cells. By building collagen, fibroblasts are able to help heal wounds and other tissues.
  • WN16B: the part of a cell that helps heal wounds
  • Genome: A complete set of DNA. Every genome has the "information" that is needed to help the cells, or organism, to live.
  • Osteoporosis: Weakening of bones, or "bones with holes." People who have osteoporosis are more prone to fractures or breaks in their bones.
  • MDR-1: Multi drug resisting, results in tumor drug tolerance

How Does brain Cancer Impact Families?

A cancer diagnoses may change the dynamics of a family. Childhood cancer tends to affect the family’s impacting the lives of parents siblings and many other people. According to The National Cancer Institute, “In childhood cancer, the effects are often felt by more individuals, including one or both parents, one or more siblings who are themselves children or adolescents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, friends, and other individuals who may be directly involved in the care or life experience of the child.“ The effects that a child’s cancer diagnosis has on the family can lead to some personal issues outside of the cancer patient. A cancer diagnosis can also change how people feel at home and leaves them confused about the circumstances. Christina Blanchard, professor of medicine and psychiatry in the division of medical oncology at Albany Medical School, also says that after a cancer diagnosis, families don’t know how they should react to the news and struggle with the changes made to their at home.This means that changes the negatively impact family culture can create serious issues outside of just the cancer patient. Which, in turn has the possibility of creating more stress on the family and child. Therefore, a diagnosis of cancer within a family can affect the family dynamics and also those who are close to the family. But, the diagnoses also leads to a more serious and immediate train of though; how is treatment for the cild going to continue and what would best fit.

What are Different Treatment Options For Children?

When treating pediatric cancer, there are many different options depending on the type of cancer and what type of medical care is required. For starters, chemotherapy works better for smaller children than it would for adults, but radiation therapy can result in many long term side effects. The American Cancer Society states, “Children’s bodies are also generally better able to recover from higher doses of chemotherapy than are adults’ bodies. Using more intensive treatments gives doctors a better chance of treating the cancer effectively.” Children have a better chance of fully recovering from cancer than adults do because they are able to receive more intensive treatments due to the fact that their bodies are still developing. Chemotherapy has been going under a lot of changes in past years. For example scientists and researchers are looking into a way to find a medicine that works similar to a vaccine. The Cancer Research Institute states, “treatments work by targeting molecules that serve as checks and balances on immune responses. By blocking these inhibitory molecules, these treatments are designed to unleash or enhance pre-existing anti-cancer immune responses.” However, the research has been mostly based on brain tumors, it is new and brings a positive outlook to curing cancer.

How does doxorubicin affect children's bone health?

Doxorubicin, commonly referred to as DOX, is a very popular and highly effective form of chemotherapy that helps reduce and eliminate tumors; however, doxorubicin comes with some very serious side effects. One of the side effects caused my doxorubicin is juvenile osteoporosis. According to the Better Health Channel, certain medicines, such as doxorubicin, can cause juvenile osteoporosis, which is generally diagnosed my lower back pain, spinal deformities, and a chronic limp. The effects of this highly important cancer therapy can make an impact on a child’s future. For example, Osteoporosis International also states,

“ Bone growth in pre-pubertal years critically influences adult fracture risk. DOX is widely used in the treatment of pediatric cancers… exercise improves bone growth in children, but there is no evidence if it protects against DOX-induced bone toxicity.”

Despite creating potential problems in the future DOX is still very effective at eradicating tumors and cancerous cells, but that really just depends on if the families want to risk these major side effects induced by the drug. Furthermore, DOX is a successful form of treatment that could possibly lead to future bone problems, but, luckly, before DOX is administered, there are precautions, such as genome therapy, that medical professionals take to ensure it is the correct method of treatment.

How does Genomic Profiling Work?

Genomic Profiling is used to identify a person’s potential for hereditary diseases. When looking into a patient’s genome, a complete set of the genetic material within a cell, scientists are able to pinpoint and identify diseases a person may encounter within their lifetime. According to Foundation One, a company that specializes in genomic profiles, “It [genomic profiles] helps physicians to precisely identify targeted treatment options that may not have been otherwise considered.” This means that the material that is in a person’s DNA is used to find a cancer treatment. As well as allowing doctors to locate and identify mutated genes, genomic profiling can also lead to why people get certain diseases and how it impacts their treatment, according to the national cancer institute. Studying and analyzing the DNA helps doctors to form a more effective type of treatment for their patients. By allowing doctors and medical staff to analyze genomes, genomic profiling helps to create customized treatments and diagnoses for their patients. Even though, genome therapy is a great and highly successful key to treatment, prolonged treatment can lead to the cancer cells forming a tolerance resulting in a change in treatment options.

Soemthing to think about...

Do Tumors Show a Tolerance to Continued Treatment?

When exposed to multiple different types of drugs for an extended period of time, it is possible for the tumor to develop a tolerance, resistance to treatment, which could lead to complications, or the cancer may become untreatable. According to Alexandra Sifferlin from Time Magazine, “when fibroblasts are doused with chemotherapy, it damages their DNA causing them to overproduce WNT16B.” Because of the mutated genetic code within the cancer cells, there are more cells that are being produced than the current chemotherapy treatments can keep up with. As a result the new cells that are forming are becoming drug resistant and increasingly hard to cure. According to the article “Cancer Multidrug Resistance,” tumors that have become resistant to treatments has resulted in doctors finding a way to make doxorubicin stronger and more effective when targeted against these resistant cells. Doctors are treating patients with a drug called Incel which makes the MDR-1 cells in a tumor more sensitive to doxorubicin. Because tumors, or tumor causing cells, are beginning to build a tolerance against cancer treatment, scientists have begun making improvements in cancer treatment in order to find a way to make current treatments more successful.

Credits:

Created with images by fotosinteresantes - "Células cancerígenas de cáncer de cuello" • IndyDina with Mr. Wonderful - "It's Mr. Chemo!!!" • Libertas Academica - "Figure A1" • stux - "hospital infusion drip" • X it - "colors" • lukibrasil123 - "Color"

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