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Childhood Extracranial Germ Cell Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Treatment Option Overview

There are different types of treatment for children with extracranial germ cell tumors.

Different types of treatments are available for children with extracranial germ cell tumors. Some treatments are standard (the currently used treatment), and some are being tested in clinical trials. A treatment clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment.

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Overview

The Gerson therapy is a complex regimen that has been used to treat people with cancer and other diseases (see Question 1). The key parts of the Gerson therapy are a strict diet, dietary supplements, and enemas (see Question 1). The theory is that disease can be cured by removing toxins from the body, boosting the immune system, and replacing excess salt in the body's cells with potassium (see Question 3). The Gerson therapy requires that the many details of its treatment plan be followed...

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Because cancer in children is rare, taking part in a clinical trial should be considered. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment.

Children with extracranial germ cell tumors should have their treatment planned by a team of health care providers who are experts in treating cancer in children.

Treatment will be overseen by a pediatric oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating children with cancer. The pediatric oncologist works with other health care providers who are experts in treating children with extracranial germ cell tumors and who specialize in certain areas of medicine. These may include the following specialists:

  • Pediatrician.
  • Pediatric surgeon.
  • Pediatric hematologist.
  • Radiation oncologist.
  • Endocrinologist.
  • Pediatric nurse specialist.
  • Rehabilitation specialist.
  • Psychologist.
  • Social worker.
  • Geneticist.

Some cancer treatments cause side effects months or years after treatment has ended.

Side effects from cancer treatment that begin during or after treatment and continue for months or years are called late effects. Late effects of cancer treatment may include the following:

  • Physical problems.
  • Changes in mood, feelings, thinking, learning, or memory.
  • Second cancers (new types of cancer).

For example, late effects of surgery to remove tumors in the sacrum or coccyx include constipation, loss of bowel and bladder control, and scars.

Some late effects may be treated or controlled. It is important to talk with your child's doctors about the effects cancer treatment can have on your child. (See the PDQ summary on Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer for more information).

Three types of standard treatment are used:

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