Childhood Cancer

Childhood Leukemia

How This Book Is Organized

This book is organized sequentially in an attempt to parallel most families’ journeys through treatment. We all start with diagnosis, then learn about leukemia and its treatment, try to cope with procedures, adjust to medical personnel, and deal with family and friends. We all seek out various methods of support and struggle with the strong feelings felt by our child with cancer, our other children, and ourselves. We also try to work with our child’s school to provide the richest and most appropriate education for our ill child.

Because it is tremendously hard to focus on learning new things when you are emotionally battered and extremely tired, I tried to keep each chapter short. The first time I introduce a medical term, I define it in the text. Because both boys and girls get cancer, I did not adopt the common convention of using only masculine personal pronouns (e.g., he, him). Instead, I alternated personal pronouns (e.g., she, he) within chapters. This may seem awkward as you read, but it prevents half of the parents from feeling that the text does not apply to their child.

All the medical information contained in this fifth edition of Childhood Leukemia is current as of 2017. As treatment is constantly evolving and improving, there will inevitably be changes. For example, researchers are currently studying new targeted medications and genetically determined responses to specific drugs that may dramatically improve treatments. You will learn in this book how to discover the newest and most appropriate treatments for your child. However, this book should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care.

Three appendices are included: Appendix A, Blood Tests and What They Mean; Appendix B, Resource Organizations; and Appendix C, Books, Websites, and Support Groups.