Children’s cancers are treated on a specialised ward in the Children’s Hospital.
The unit provides a regional service to children up to the age of 16 from across Northern Ireland who have been diagnosed with cancer or a haematological disorder.
Children and adolescents can be diagnosed with any type of cancer. However, some types are more common than others.
Some of the most common cancers in children are:
GPs will refer children with a suspected cancer or haematological disorder to the Children’s Hospital.
The next step is an appointment in the Outpatient Clinic at the Children’s Hospital with a paediatrician (doctor who specialises in treating children) or a paediatric oncologist (doctor who specialises in treating children with cancer).
The doctor will examine your child and may request tests and investigations to establish the cause of any symptoms.
Investigations and diagnosis
Investigating your child’s symptoms may require a number of tests and scans. These tests will be done in the Children’s Hospital.
It may take time for a diagnosis. It is important to get all the necessary information beforehand.
Some of the tests and scans may include:
- blood tests
- bone marrow test
- lumbar puncture
- ultrasound scan
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- bone scan
- PET scan
All tests are usually completed within four weeks of when the cancer was first suspected.
The Paediatric Cancer Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) is made up of experts in diagnosing and treating children’s cancers.
The Paediatric Cancer MDT meets every week to discuss the results of tests and scans. This ensures the best treatment plans are put in place.
A record of this discussion will be sent to the child’s GP.
The decision by the MDT on the treatment plan will be discussed with the child’s family before an appointment with the specialist is arranged.
When treatment has been completed, your child will need to attend regular follow-up appointments with their doctor.
These appointments are very important to monitor your child’s recovery and general wellbeing.
The exact follow-up programme depends on your child’s cancer diagnosis and treatment plan, among other things.
Follow-up appointments are also a good opportunity to access the many support services we provide for people affected by cancer.
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