Children’s Blood and Cancer Diseases

Paediatric Haematology and Oncology

At Tays, we examine and treat children and adolescents who suffer from blood and cancer diseases. We are responsible for the treatment of conditions such as iron deficiency anaemia and haemolytic disease as well as leukaemia, lymphoma and other cancer 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 16 that have a tendency to grow and spread if not properly treated. The most common groups of cancer diseases in children and adolescents are blood diseases or leukaemias, which account for one third of all cancer diseases in children. The second largest group are brain tumours, which also account for one third of all cancer diseases. The last third consists of solid tumours in highly varied forms, such as lymphomas, renal tumours and neuroblastoma.

In the Pirkanmaa region, 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 three years. Treatment results in Finland are excellent even on an international scale: more than 80 per cent of childhood cancers are permanently cured.

Treatment of children’s blood diseases at Tays

Children suffering from blood diseases are treated in collaboration between Tays and the central hospital, health centre and maternity and child welfare clinic 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 or maternity and child welfare clinic. 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 cancer diseases and also implement the treatment primarily at Tays.

Small-scale therapies, such as certain chemotherapy injections, may also be administered in a central hospital setting. Follow-up appointments, treatment of infections and control blood samples have also be decentralised to 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, chemo- and radiotherapy, either all of them or in a combination that is 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. The patients visit the outpatient clinics primarily for follow-up, blood tests and imaging studies. 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 is Finland’s first university hospital where the follow-up of tumours in children and adolescents is systematically organised even after the patient turns 18 years and transfers to the ‘adult side’. 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.

Vastuuhenkilöt

Chief Physician of the Unit Olli Lohi
Deputy Chief Physician Mikko Arola
Specialist Katriina Parto