In France, the care of children with cancer is adapted to each case, in order to guarantee effective care, while respecting the quality of life of the young patient.
THE STAGES OF THE TREATMENT JOURNEY
The care of a child with cancer is embodied in the “care pathway”, which unfolds in seven complementary areas:
- The announcement phase: in order to better support your child in the face of cancer, the announcement phase goes through five stages, which make it possible to inform, support and answer the questions of the young patient and his family.
- The multidisciplinary consultation meeting: this aims at ratifying the treatment protocol recommended for children with cancer and their parents.
- The personalized care program (PCP): drawn up during the multidisciplinary consultation meeting and presented to the young patient and his family, this is a summary document detailing the treatment of cancer in the child being followed.
- The communicating oncology file: this is a digitized medical file, linked to the shared medical file (DMP), which allows authorized professionals to have access to the young patient’s file throughout their care journey.
- Supportive care: after a study of the needs of the young patient, they are put in place to allow the child to experience cancer treatment as comfortably as possible, physically, psychologically and socially.
- Shared city-hospital follow-up: the generalization of outpatient surgical procedures and oral chemotherapy requires better coordination of the care provided in the hospital and by practitioners in the city. The follow-up of the young patient is done through the shared medical file (DMP).
- Administrative and social procedures: carried out by the doctor or the hospital team, these procedures allow in particular care for young patients with “ALD 30” (long-term illness).
The therapeutic management of children with cancer is determined during the multidisciplinary consultation meeting. The treatments most frequently used to treat pediatric cancers, alone or in combination, are:
- surgical operations to remove the tumour(s);
- transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells.
The care protocol is drawn up for each child by the multidisciplinary team, depending on their age and state of health, the type of cancer from which they suffer and their stage, the location of the tumor, his medical history, health-related contraindications, possible clinical trials in the context of cancer research. The young patient can give his opinion on this treatment, it will be taken into consideration by the oncology team.
SUPPORT FROM ASSOCIATIONS
In the ordeal of childhood cancer, the support of associations is very important. They provide practical information, they finance and organize activities inside and outside the hospital, allow parents to find support and listening. The role of the peer helper is fundamental to overcoming the obstacle course of childhood cancer. In addition, by participating in an association, the child and his family take action, to collect donations in order to accelerate research or to act to improve the well-being of children.
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