Journey of Hope: Navigating Pediatric Oncology Treatment and Care
The diagnosis of pediatric cancer is a devastating blow to any family. However, amidst the darkness, there is a glimmer of hope. The field of pediatric oncology has made remarkable progress in recent years resulting in a very good treatment outcome and offering innovative treatments and comprehensive care that provide children and their families with renewed optimism and support throughout their challenging journey.
Understanding the Diagnosis: Pediatric oncology focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in children, adolescents, and young adults. Upon receiving a diagnosis, parents often find themselves grappling with fear, confusion, and a multitude of emotions. It is crucial for medical professionals to provide clear and compassionate explanations, guiding families through the intricacies of the disease, treatment options, and potential outcomes. By fostering open communication, healthcare providers empower families to make informed decisions about their child’s care, helping them regain a sense of control in an otherwise chaotic situation.
Tailored Treatment Approaches: Pediatric oncology emphasizes personalized treatment plans that take into account the unique needs of each child. Advances in medical research have led to targeted therapies and precision medicine, which aim to maximize treatment effectiveness while minimizing side effects. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, immunotherapy, and stem cell transplantation are among the various modalities employed based on the specific cancer type and stage. These treatment options offer hope, improved survival rates, and reduced long-term effects.
Holistic Supportive Care: Recognizing that pediatric cancer affects not only the child but the entire family, comprehensive supportive care is a cornerstone of pediatric oncology. Psychosocial support, mental health services, and counseling are essential components, addressing the emotional and psychological well-being of both the child and their loved ones. Palliative care and pain management are also integrated to ensure comfort and quality of life during treatment.
Furthermore, the financial support provided by the various government schemes like Ayushman bharat have enabled children of lower socioeconomic status to receive the best possible treatment of this potentially curable disease. Nonprofit organizations, such as CANKIDS/KIDSCAN, Leukemia crusaders, Cuddles foundation and Make-A-Wish Foundation, provide additional resources, including lodging, transportation, nutrition and fulfilling the wishes of young cancer patients.
The journey through pediatric oncology treatment and care is undoubtedly challenging, but it is also filled with remarkable advancements, unwavering support, and boundless hope.. Decentralization of the pediatric cancer care is the need of the hour as most of the pediatric cancer care centres are located in the metro cities and the long duration of cancer treatment requires the caregivers to relocate to these cities thus resulting in increased rate of treatment refusal and/or abandonment. Our pediatric oncology centre at KLE’S Dr Prabhakar Kore hospital is the first pediatric oncology centre of north Karnataka which was established in September 2017 and has catered to more than 400 children with cancer, with a treatment outcome at par with the best centres of the country. By combining cutting-edge medical treatments with comprehensive supportive care, the field of pediatric oncology continues to improve outcomes and provide families with a renewed sense of hope throughout their journey
Dr. Abhilasha S
MD (Pediatrics), FPHO
Paediatric Hemato Oncology