We offer the latest treatment options at Sheba for children with astrocytomas. Our experienced brain tumor specialists will tailor your child’s cancer therapies to optimize the outcome. We aim to cure astrocytomas without causing other long-term health problems, and we personalize every treatment program based on the child’s age, location and grade of the tumor, overall health, medical history, and extent of the disease. Some treatments will target the tumor, while others address specific side effects or complications of the astrocytoma.
Observation and close monitoring of your child’s condition may be recommended as the only treatment when:
- The child has no symptoms
- The tumor is very small and detected when a different health problem is being treated
- Following surgery, until any symptoms appear or change
Treatment options at Sheba for astrocytoma include:
Surgery is the first and primary treatment for childhood astrocytomas. However, if any cancer cells remain after surgery, additional treatment will be needed. The surgery is often performed at the same time as a biopsy, if cancer cells are found during the biopsy.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. After surgery, it can be part of the treatment program for children with astrocytomas. Certain ways of administering radiation therapy can help prevent it from damaging nearby healthy tissues. Our radiation oncologists at Sheba have specialized techniques to determine the dose and volume of radiation so that it provides maximum benefits with minimal long-term effects for the overall health of your child.
Chemotherapy may be used to destroy remaining cancer cells after surgery for astrocytomas. When chemo drugs are taken orally or by injection, the drugs enter the child’s bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the entire body; this is known as systemic chemotherapy. Combination chemotherapy involves the use of more than one anticancer medication. Typically, systemic combination chemo is used to treat children with astrocytomas.
Stem cell/bone marrow transplant with high-dose chemotherapy
To kill cancer cells, high doses of chemo drugs are given. As a consequence of this powerful treatment, many healthy cells are also destroyed. In order to replace the blood-forming cells that have been destroyed, stem cells can be transplanted into the patient. The infused stem cells develop into healthy blood cells and restore the normal cells that were destroyed.
Targeted therapy uses drugs or other substances to identify and destroy cancer cells without damaging normal healthy cells. The molecular profile of your child’s tumor will largely determine whether or not targeted therapy is an option.
There are different types of targeted therapies, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor therapy (such as Bevacizumab) is one type that is currently being used to treat pediatric astrocytomas. Another type of targeted therapy that may be used to treat astrocytomas is protein kinase inhibitors. Many progressive studies are ongoing to determine the best types and ways to use targeted therapy against astrocytomas.
Our holistic approach to healing
When we custom-design your child’s treatment program at Sheba, we treat more than just the cancer. Our compassionate medical team considers your child’s overall well-being, striving constantly to provide a comfortable, pain-free, and efficient experience. We offer diverse support services for children and their families, including social workers, alternative therapies, and nutrition counseling. Our knowledgeable staff is always available to answer questions and ease the journey for you and your child as you fight cancer.