For many solid tumors, surgery is an essential part of treatment.
Surgery is a treatment to remove the tumor. The tissue around the tumor and the lymph nodes can also be removed during the operation.
In some types of tumor, radiotherapy or chemotherapy is used before surgery to reduce the tumor. Your child will probably have a lot of concerns about the surgery, so try to give honest answers to his questions. In order to give the correct answers to your child's questions, you will need to consult with doctors and other team members.
The safer and more information you have, the easier it will be when it comes to explaining it to your child.
Possible side effects of surgery
The side effects of surgery depend on the location of the tumor, the type of surgery, the child's general health and other factors. Common side effects include pain, nausea and constipation.
The doctor will be able to medicate the child - as needed - to help alleviate these side effects and other symptoms.
Children and amputations
In the past, amputations were often necessary to remove bone tumors in the arms and legs.
Today, this procedure is performed less frequently. However, for some children, amputation remains the best choice.
These children have special concerns. They wonder what it will be like not to have an arm or a leg. Will they be able to do everyday things? How are they going to do them? How will others act towards them?
It is sometimes more difficult for parents than for children to adjust to an amputation.
Generally, younger children tend to adjust more quickly. It can be useful for your child to see how others have adapted to an amputation. It can be useful to meet other children who have had amputations and who are adapted to the new daily life.
Most children can participate in the same activities that they did before having an amputation. They can even walk, run, bike, ski, dive and even mountain climb. After the surgery, your child may experience "phantom pain", a strange sensation, such as cold, itching, and pain in the limb, as if the amputated limb is still part of the body.
Doctors do not know what causes "phantom pain". The best explanation is that the brain is used to receiving messages from the nerves of the limb that was amputated. The doctor may start medication to relieve your child's pain. As part of the rehabilitation, the physiotherapist will help your child with exercises to strengthen the muscles needed to support a temporary prosthesis.
These exercises are often difficult and can be painful, but your child needs to be encouraged and supported during this time.
Once the muscles become stronger, the doctor may order a prosthesis for your child.