Pediatrics is the specialty of Medicine dedicated to the health care of children, pre-teens and adolescents. Its work includes the prevention and treatment of diseases from birth to adulthood. The pediatrician is also responsible for guiding families on issues such as food, breastfeeding, vaccination and accident prevention.
There are several subtypes and specializations linked to pediatrics, such as Neonatology, Pediatric Nutrology, Pediatric Nephrology, Pediatric Neurology, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Pediatric Cardiology, Pediatric Pulmonology, Pediatric Rheumatology, Adolescent Medicine, Pediatric Endocrinology and Pediatric Gastroenterology, among others.
In the past, the pediatrician was limited to accompanying the child from birth to adolescence, but with the evolution of Medicine and its resources, over the years pathologies were discovered during pregnancy, the so-called morbid-fetal phenomena, where the pediatrician has his action, which is called Perinatal Pediatrics.
The Pediatrics specialty is still related to Genetic Counseling, when there is a risk of genetic incompatibility between the couple and they are treated together with the geneticist. It can also work in prenatal care together with the obstetrician.
The Oncopediatrician is responsible for the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of tumors and cancers in children and adolescents up to 18 years of age. Who will define the ideal treatment for each patient is the pediatric oncologist.
Cancer treatment begins with the correct diagnosis and staging (clinical extent of the disease). Considering the complexity of the treatment of the disease, it is essential that it be carried out in a pediatric oncology center, by a multidisciplinary team, comprising different therapeutic modalities applied in a rational and individualized way for each specific histological type and according to the clinical extension of the disease.
In Brazil, in recent years, there has been a marked increase in the survival and cure rate of children and adolescents with cancer, thanks to treatment being carried out in pediatric oncology centers, the use of cooperative protocols and improved supportive care. The results obtained using these protocols for most histological types are similar to those of developed countries (70-80%).
It is also important to emphasize that the cure of the disease should not only be based on biological recovery, but also on the well-being and quality of life of the patient and the family. In this context, it is important to emphasize the role of pediatricians in the clinical follow-up of their patients with the pediatric oncology team, making them aware of the diagnosis, the treatment performed and the main acute and late complications during and after the end of treatment.
Considering that changes occur in childhood and adolescence, not only biological, but also psychological, which can be modified in a favorable or unfavorable way to the development of diseases, the acquisition of healthy lifestyle habits at this stage is seen, today, as a preventive strategy. which can help individuals stay healthy longer, avoiding chronic diseases in adulthood.
Thus, it is essential in the first decades of life to disseminate knowledge about the effects of risk factors on the average life expectancy of the population, in addition to developing preventive strategies that involve different sectors of society, aiming at changing the way of life based on evidence.
Cancer treatment starts with the correct diagnosis, which requires the participation of a reliable laboratory and imaging studies. Due to its complexity, the treatment must be carried out in a specialized center and comprises three main modalities (chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy, when necessary), being applied in a rational and individualized way for each specific tumor and according to the extent of the disease. The work coordinated by a multidisciplinary team is also a determining factor for the success of the treatment.