Childhood Cancer

Childhood Cancer

When are transplants necessary?

The current standard of care for children with high-risk neuroblastoma includes PBSCT. A recent study suggested that using tandem transplants might improve outcomes, so it is possible your oncologist will recommend this approach. Children with high-risk neuroblastoma usually have stem cells collected and frozen early in treatment, and then infused during the consolidation phase of treatment. In some clinical trials for other solid tumors, tandem PBSCTs are also used. Although preliminary data from some of these trials are encouraging, tandem transplants are still considered experimental in treating most, but not all, solid tumors.

If a PBSCT has been recommended for your child or teenager, you may want to get a second opinion before proceeding. In addition, you may want to ask the oncologist and transplant physician some or all of the following questions:

•  What are all the treatment options for my child’s tumor?

•  For my child’s type of tumor, history, and physical condition, what chance for survival does she have with a transplant? What are her chances with other treatments?

•  What are the risks and the benefits of this type of transplant?

•  What will be my child’s likely short-term and long-term quality of life after the transplant?

•  Where would my child receive this type of transplant?

•  What portion of the procedure will be outpatient versus inpatient?

•  What is the average length of stay in the hospital for children undergoing this procedure?

•  What are the anticipated and the rare complications of this type of transplant?

•  Will my child have to take medicines after the transplant? For how long?

•  What are the side effects of these medicines?

•  Is this transplant considered to be experimental, or is it the current standard of care?

•  Do insurance companies usually pay for this type of transplant?