If the doctor suspects cancer, he or she may order X-rays and blood tests and recommend the child go see an oncologist (a cancer specialist). The oncologist will run other tests to find out if the child really has cancer. If so, tests can determine what kind of cancer it is and if it has spread to other parts of the body. Based on the results, the doctor will decide the best treatment plan.
An oncologist or surgeon may perform a biopsy. During a biopsy, a piece of tissue is removed from a tumor or a place in the body where cancer is suspected. The tissue that's collected will be examined under a microscope for cancer cells.
The sooner cancer is found and treatment begins, the better the child’s chances are for a full recovery and cure.
Cancer is treated with surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation — or sometimes a combination of all three. The choice of treatment depends on the type of cancer and how far advanced it is.
Three out of every 5 people with cancer will have an operation to remove it. During surgery, the doctor tries to take out as many cancer cells as possible. Some healthy cells or tissue may also be removed to make sure that all the cancer is gone.
Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer medicines. These medicines are sometimes taken as a pill, but usually are given through a special intravenous line. The medicine flows from the IV into a vein, where it travels throughout the body and attack cancer cells.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy waves, such as X-rays to damage and destroy cancer cells. It can cause tumors to shrink and even go away completely. Radiation therapy is one of the most common treatments for cancer. Many people with cancer find it goes away after receiving radiation treatments.
With both chemotherapy and radiation, kids may experience side effects. Radiation and anti-cancer drugs are very good at destroying cancer cells but, unfortunately, they also destroy healthy cells. This can cause problems such as loss of appetite, tiredness, vomiting, or hair loss. With radiation, a person might have red or irritated skin in the area that's being treated. But all these problems go away and hair grows back after the treatment is over. During the treatment, certain medicines can help a kid feel better.
Remission means getting better and that all signs of cancer are gone from the body. After surgery or treatment with radiation or chemotherapy, a doctor will then do tests to see if the cancer is still there. If there are no signs of cancer, then the child is in remission.