Even by itself, cancer is one of the most devastating and impactful illnesses that anyone can suffer with.
However, the impact of cancer can be even more devastating in instances where children are afflicted, with nearly 1,400 kids under the age of 15 diagnosed with a particular type of cancer every single year in the UK.
Despite this, child cancer remains relatively rare, with such instances accounting for less than 15 of all new cases diagnosed each year. There’s also a relatively positive prognosis for children who are diagnosed with cancer, with more than eight out of every 10 patients expected to live for more than five years after treatment.
The prognosis for child cancer continues to improve too, so there’s room for optimism when dealing with one of the world’s biggest killers. But what does the future hold for the treatment of children of cancer, and how does the NHS deal with the most sensitive cases?
The Incidences of Child Cancer in the UK
There are numerous forms of child cancer in the UK, each of which looks different under the microscope and tend to respond differently to treatment.
Leukemia is the most common type of cancer amongst children, with this accounting for approximately one-third of the 1,400 cases reported each year.
An additional quarter of child cancer cases relate to central nervous system and brain tumours, whilst no other type of condition accounts for more than 15 of the total number of instances.
The Role of the NHS and Science in the Treatment of Cancer
As we’ve already touched on, the mortality rate amongst child cancer patients remains relatively low, with the vast majority of kids going to make a full recovery over time.
However, in the most sensitive cases, the NHS must strike the delicate balance between delivering the optimal treatments to patients and ensuring that children and their families are cared for emotionally during this most difficult time.
Even once the battle has been lost and a child enters the final stage of their life as a cancer patient, the NHS and their staff must take steps to maintain the integrity of the patient and provide support to patients to ensure that they’re well-nourished and able to spend time with their child.
When it comes to treatment, scientific and technological advancements are also having a significant impact on patients and the overall recovery rate amongst children.
One of the key areas of focus is the need for doctors to identify the symptoms of relapse far quicker than they’re currently able to, as this will ensure that drugs can bypass resistance to the initially therapy before the second course of treatment begins.
Beyond this, doctors are also required to understand the mechanisms by which cancer cells adopt inter-convertible states with various drug sensitivities. This will allow for bespoke and effective drug combinations that deliver the optimal level of treatment, which is particularly important when dealing with instances of child cancer.
From a processing perspective, NHS hospitals are also looking to enhance patient flow in a bid to improve the speed and the efficiency of treatment delivered to patients.
This certainly ensures that courses of treatment are delivered promptly once they’ve been agreed, whilst it may also prove crucial when overcoming drug resistance and minimising the long-term risk of remission.
Disclosure: This is a partnered post