“The achievements in medical science and practice regarding pediatric oncohematology are great”. Prof. Dr. Dragan Bobev - pediatrician-oncohematologist, national consultant in pediatric oncohematology and transplantology stated this in our short but meaningful conversation. Member of the International Society of Oncohematology and Transplantology and EBMT.
Prof. Bobev, I am looking for you to ask you to inform our readers about what are the good news and results in pediatric oncohematology?
- The good news already exists from 10-15 years ago and it is related to the pan-European practice for the treatment of malignant diseases in countries like ours. We fully use everything that is in the standards of the European school for the treatment of malignant diseases, we are also members of the European Association for the treatment of these diseases. All programs and stages of treatment in this area are present there. They are already so well programmed and known to all EU countries that the treatment of malignant diseases has become a phenomenon that is used rationally by all schools that wish to comply with the developed European standards.
And what is the effect and the result?
- As a result, leukemia and other malignant diseases are already taking on new dimensions in terms of the possibility of long-term survival and definitive recovery. It, as a relative share, is different in different forms of malignant diseases. However, if we take the most common of these diseases - leukemia, I can state that already between 60 and 80%, depending on the form of the disease, we are able to ensure a long life expectancy and definitive recovery. Internationally recognized criteria are used, which we comply with when we determine the relative share of long-term survivors and definitively recovering patients. So the achievements in this field of medical science and practice are too great. There are still minor spots for which conditions are constantly being created to improve the percentage of those who are definitively healed. Priority in this regard is acute leukemia, malignant lymphomas and some tumors in childhood - embryonic tumors.
Prof. Bobev, very briefly - is the cause of the occurrence and development of leukemia known?
- No, the reason is unknown. Only a single form of this disease has so far been suspected of a specific virus, but this is only for a certain group, the relative proportion of which is small.
And again briefly - can this insidious disease be caught at the very beginning? Are there any early signs? What should parents pay attention to?
- No, it is very difficult to detect the slightest changes in the general condition of the child when it comes to malignancy. So the brutal onset is what draws the attention of relatives and doctors to the possibility of malignancy. Otherwise - minimal changes in the child's general condition should not always be commented on as a sign of a bad illness.
Yes, but not to be neglected
- Minimal changes should not be neglected by doctors when there are enough objective signs to raise suspicions.