Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: Receiving treatment for blood cancers

Treatment may include a transplant

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. When a child has a form of blood cancer, receiving treatment can be at the top of many parent’s minds.

According to Dr. Ghadir Sasa, medical director of the pediatric bone marrow transplant program at Methodist Children’s Hospital, malignant and non-malignant blood conditions can include the following:

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), Acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML). Chronic myeloblastic leukemia (CML), Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML).
  • Lymphomas—Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s.
  • Neuroblastoma.
  • Brain tumors.
  • Germ cell tumors.
  • Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).
  • Primary immunodeficiencies, such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID).
  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Sickle cell disease.
  • Thalassemia.
  • Bone marrow failures.

Sasa said when a child is diagnosed with one of these conditions, the treatment process is complex because it takes into account many factors as doctors determine the best course for each patient. Treatment options could include a transplant.

At Methodist Children’s Hospital, types of transplants include:

  • Allogeneic — This includes matched related donors, matched/mismatched unrelated donors, haploidentical donors, and cord blood transplants.
  • Autologous — This involves using the patient’s stem cells instead of an outside donor.

To assist pediatric oncology, hematology, and bone marrow transplant patients, the hospital offers an art and music therapy program. These programs give children diagnosed with cancer and their families a safe place to express themselves and cope with the stress and emotions of a cancer diagnosis.

For more information, visit Methodist Healthcare’s website.