Blood Disorders Due to Chemotherapy in Children
Cancer or malignancy in children is a syndrome involving abnormal proliferation of cells and body tissues that develops in children before the age of 18 years. This further leads to the infiltration and proliferation of cells into other body systems. The most common cancer in childhood is leukemia, which accounts for one third of all childhood cancers. Other common malignancies in childhood are lymphoma and malignancies of the central nervous system. Multimodal therapies such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy have played an important role in maintaining the survival of children with malignancies. Therapy can improve a child's general health and well-being, but there can be some side effects. These therapeutic agents cannot selectively differentiate between cancer cells and normal body cells, so the destruction of normal cells also occurs. As a result, there are several cytotoxic effects and organ-specific drug toxicity seen in children undergoing chemotherapy, one of which is bone marrow. Side effects of chemotherapy can make it difficult for the bone marrow to produce blood cells as it normally would (bone marrow suppression). The decrease in blood cell count varies depending on which agent is used for the treatment of childhood cancer. Red blood cells, which carry oxygen, white blood cells, which fight infection, and platelets, which control bleeding, can usually be low due to chemotherapy. The risk of anemia, fatigue, infection, and bleeding increases with bone marrow suppression.
Some of the terms and symptoms of decreased blood cell counts include:
1. Anemia is the medical term for a decrease in the number of red blood cells.
-Fatigue that does not improve with rest;
-Palor of the skin, lips, and nails. -Increased heart rate;
2. Neutropenia is characterized by a decrease in the number of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell that serves as the first line of defense against bacterial infections).
-Fever and chills
-Pain when urinating
-Coughing or shortness of breath
-Other signs of infection (swelling, pus, redness, warmth)
3. Thrombocytopenia is the term for a decrease in the number of platelets.
-Bleeding in the nose, gums, or mouth
-Small red spots on the skin (petechiae)
-Blood in the urine
-Black or red bowel movements
4.Pancytopenia is the term for decreased red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
When a child is undergoing chemotherapy treatment, the levels of these blood cells will be monitored frequently. Treatment of bone marrow suppression due to chemotherapy will depend on the child's symptoms, age, severity, and general health. There are several things that can be done to prevent the side effects of bone marrow suppression in children, including:
-Do not do activities that are too strenuous.
-Avoid shaving areas of the body.
-Do not eat vegetables or raw foods that are hard, rough, or can trigger injury to the body.
-Use an alcohol-free antiseptic mouthwash.
-Hands should be washed with soap. Closing and treating wounds
-Avoid crowds and potential infection sources. Balance between rest and physical activity
-Eat high-protein foods.
-Drink lots of water.
-Monitor the child's body temperature regularly.
If you have a fever that doesn't go down, bleeding that is difficult to stop, symptoms that don't improve or even get worse, or new symptoms that are worrying, immediately come to a health care provider for further treatment.