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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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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:

  • 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:

Surgery

Surgery to completely remove the tumor is done whenever possible. If the tumor is very large, chemotherapy may be given first, to make the tumor smaller and decrease the amount of tissue that needs to be removed during surgery. The following types of surgery may be used:

  • Resection: Surgery to remove tissue or part or all of an organ. If cancer is in the coccyx, the entire coccyx is removed.
  • Tumor debulking: A surgical procedure in which as much of the tumor as possible is removed. Some tumors may not be able to be completely removed.
  • Radical inguinal orchiectomy: Surgery to remove one or both testicles through an incision (cut) in the groin.
  • Unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: Surgery to remove one ovary and one fallopian tube.
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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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