Caring For Children With Cancer

When a child is diagnosed with cancer, parents find themselves facing their fear of losing their child. These days such a diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence because of the daily discoveries of science and medicine. Many patients and their families have experienced how oncology solutions are possible. Each success story brings promises of life and health to families struggling with childhood cancer.

Tumors occur in organs and tissues and are found in all age groups, including infants. The type of tumor and how it is treated can depend on where the tumor is located. A cancerous tumor is one that shows invasive properties. The cells break off and migrate to different tissues. Because the DNA is damaged, the cells have lost their ability to experience a natural cycle of birth and death. The end result is an over growth of cells that take over healthy cells, creating havoc in the diseased area. A begin tumor can often be left alone unless it interferes with the function of the nervous system and other organs. Once the cancer has been diagnosed exploring the different treatment options is essential to healing. One interesting fact is that children generally have a better response to treatments than adults.

One of the big differences between an adult cancer patient and a child is a child is still developing. Both children and adults have to replace the tissue destroyed by chemo and radiation therapy, but a child needs extra nutrition for their bodies to grow. Parents should consult with nutritionists and doctors to make sure the child is receiving enough protein. Carbohydrates are important, as well as enough fat to provide energy for growth and development. According to the American Cancer Society, children can need up to 90 percent more carbohydrates than a child without cancer. Other nutritional areas to consider are how chemo treatments can cause vomiting and diarrhea, creating dehydration in an already weak patient. Water becomes extremely important to keep the body lubricated and able to function. If a child cannot eat during their treatments, talking to a doctor or nutritionist who specializes in working with childhood cancer can provide solid information on how to work with the loss of appetite.

During the diagnostic and treatment phase of cancer, both the family and patient need support. In younger children, they often do not understand they are sick. The medical care they are undergoing can be frightening and seen as a form of punishment. While teens may experience a change in how their friends and teachers approach them. Parents need support because of dealing with the extra responsibilities found in the care of a sick child. People who are dealing with similar problems can provide understanding and relevant advice due to shared experiences of a similar illness. Families need to know that cancer is not a death sentence. There are solutions, providing a chance for the family and child to be fully healed and ready to move on to the happier experiences of growing up.

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Article contributed by Candace Dubois.