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Health Issues

The incidence of cancer in the United States is second only to that of heart disease. Yet when you consider that there are more than one hundred different forms of cancer, you begin to appreciate how rare the majority of them are, pediatric cancers in particular. Childhood leukemia, the most common form, strikes a mere two thousand two hundred youngsters a year. Consequently, a general adult oncologist may go for years without seeing a case of cancer in an adolescent. Although research in cancer therapy hasn’t produced any major breakthroughs since the early 1980s, enough small victories have been won that the overall cancer survival rate has crept from 51 percent of patients in 1982 to 60 percent in 1994. Unless a cancer specialist treats a particular cancer regularly, he may not be aware of the latest treatment guidelines. A lengthy 1999 report from the National Cancer Policy Board concluded that a “substantial” number of cancer patients “do not receive care known to be effective for their condition.”

Tests Used to Diagnose Pediatric Cancers

Acute Leukemias

Physical examination, complete blood count (CBC), bone-marrow biopsy, lumbar puncture (spinal tap), tumor-cell chromosome analysis, liver-function and kidney-function blood tests, imaging studies such as X rays, radionuclide bone scan, ultrasonography, computed tomography (CT scan) and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan)

Hodgkin’s Disease and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Physical examination, imaging studies such as X rays, computed tomography (CT scan) and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan), lymphnode biopsy, bone-marrow biopsy

Brain Cancers

Physical examination, neurological exam, lumbar puncture (spinal tap), electroencephalogram (EEG), imaging studies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan), computed tomography (CT scan), positron emission tomography (PET scan), angiography, brain tumor biopsy

Sarcomas of the Soft Tissues and Bones

Rhabdomyosarcoma

Physical examination, soft-tissue imaging, tumor, biopsy

Osteosarcoma

Physical examination, imaging studies such as X rays, computed tomography (CT scan), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan) and/or radionuclide bone scan, bone biopsy

Ewing’s Sarcoma

Physical examination, imaging studies such as X rays, computed tomography (CT scan), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan) and/or radionuclide bone scan, bone biopsy, complete blood count (CBC)

 

Last Updated
10/6/2014
Source
Caring for Your Teenager (Copyright © 2003 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.