Children’s Blood and Cancer Diseases

Paediatric Haematology and Oncology

At Tays, we are responsible for the examinations and treatment of all children and adolescents under the age of 18 with blood and cancer diseases. These include leukemias, brain tumors and other solid tumors. In addition, we treat benign and malignant blood diseases.

Children’s blood diseases are disorders that relate to the formation of blood. Blood consists of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, and those suffering from blood diseases have disorders in their production. A disorder in red blood cells often manifests as anaemia, a disorder in white blood cell production as recurrent or severe infections, and a platelet deficiency as bleeding tendency.

Children’s cancer diseases mean malignant tumours diagnosed in children under the age of 18 that have a tendency to grow and spread if not properly treated. The most common cancer disease in children and adolescents is blood cancer or leukaemia, which account for one third of all cancer diseases in children. The second largest group is brain tumours, with wide variety of diagnoses. The last third consists of solid tumours in highly varied forms, such as lymphomas, renal tumours and neuroblastoma.

In the Pirkanmaa region and special responsibility area of Tays, 30 to 40 children are diagnosed with blood or cancer diseases every year. Depending on the type of illness, the duration of treatment ranges from six months to two years. Treatment results in Finland are excellent even on an international scale: more than 80% of children and adolescents with cancers are permanently cured, and in leukemia patients the prognosis is as high as 90%.

Treatment of children’s blood diseases at Tays

Children suffering from blood diseases are treated in collaboration between Tays, central hospitals and primary health care, on a case-by-case basis depending on the severity of the disease.

For example, children’s iron deficiency can be diagnosed and treated in a health centre. For such diseases, we mainly serve as a consultant and assume responsibility for the treatment of mainly those patients whose diagnostics or treatment is not successful otherwise. The treatment and follow-up of haemolytic diseases, for example, can also be primarily carried out in central hospitals.

Treatment of children’s cancer diseases at Tays

All of children’s cancer diseases are diagnosed and treated in specialised health care. We are responsible for the diagnosis of children's and adolescent's cancer diseases and also implement the treatment at Tays.

Small-scale therapies, such as certain chemotherapy injections, may also be administered in central hospitals. Control appointments, treatment of infections and follow-up may also take place in central hospitals.

Children’s blood cancers or leukaemias are nearly always treated with chemotherapy medication. The treatment of children’s solid tumours often involves surgical treatment and chemotherapy, and in some cases also radiotherapy. The treatment is always tailored on a case-by-case basis.

Chemotherapy rounds are primarily administered in a ward setting, and the duration of the cycle ranges from one day to about one week. Short drug treatments and treatment evaluation studies are carried out as day visits in the day ward. The patients visit the outpatient clinic primarily for control visits and follow-up. Blood test controls are also carried out by the home hospital to a certain extent.

Treatment follow-up

The treatment follow-up primarily takes place at Tays, but certain appointments and examination may also take place at central hospitals on a case-by-case basis.

Special expertise at Tays

Tays operates Finland's first so-called Early Stage Paediatric Drug Research Center (PeeTU), which provides the latest treatments for recurrent tumors. In Tays, monitoring of tumor treatments in children and adolescents is systematic even after the patient reaches the age of 18. This is carried out by the Adolescent Outpatient Clinic, the operation of which is coordinated by the Oncology Unit.

Tampere Center for Child Health Researh, a joint research unit of the University of Tampere and Tays, has active research teams that conduct basic research in the field of children’s leukaemia and brain tumours. We are also extensively involved in international children’s cancer treatment trials. Nearly all of children’s cancers are treated following a specific international treatment programme.

Person in charge

Chief Physician of the Unit Olli Lohi