Starship Paediatric Blood & Cancer Centre
Most children will need some type of treatment for their cancer. For most children this will be chemotherapy – medicines that kill cancer cells. Some may also have radiotherapy – strong X-ray treatment that also kills cancer cells in a specific area. Surgery to cut out the area of cancer may also occur for some types of cancer. For more information on these different treatments, please see below.
In New Zealand we belong to various groups of other paediatric hospitals that look after children with cancer – some in America, some in the UK, some in Australia and so on. All of these groups do studies to decide which is the best form of treatment for different types of childhood cancer. So the treatment your child gets is the combination of all that shared knowledge and what is considered the best in the world at the present time.
Many children will need to have a special tube inserted through their chest into one of the larger blood vessels so that they can receive all the treatment they will need.
There are two main kinds – a Hickman line where you end up with one or two tubes coming out of your body, and a Portacath which is device that is placed under the skin and is accessed by a special needle when it is needed.
These devices mean that children are not constantly having IV lines put in and they are put into very big veins which minimises the risk of problems with them. If your child is going to need one of these, it will be discussed fully with you and the advantages and disadvantages spelled out.