Treatments for Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis in Children

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What are the treatments for Langerhans cell histiocytosis?

Treatment for LCH varies widely. In some children, the disease will go away without any treatment at all.

For other children, treatment may include:

Medications

Steroids, hormones and other drugs

Surgery

Surgical removal of growths of LCH cells

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays (radiation) from a specialized machine to damage or kill abnormal cells. Small doses of this treatment, usually used against cancer, can help stop the growth of Langerhans cells in specific areas of the body.

Chemotherapy

Small doses of this treatment, usually used against cancer, can help stop the growth of Langerhans cells throughout the body. Chemotherapy is systemic treatment, meaning it is introduced to the bloodstream and travels throughout the body to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be given:

  • as a pill to swallow
  • as an injection into the muscle or fat tissue
  • intravenously (directly to the bloodstream)
  • intrathecally (directly into the spinal column with a needle)

While chemotherapy can be quite effective, the treatment doesn't completely differentiate normal healthy cells from abnormal cells. Because of this, there can be adverse side effects during treatment, all of which your child's physician will discuss with you.

What's the long-term outlook for my child?

Most children with LCH will survive the disease, although some children may develop long-term chronic health problems. If the disease occurs in an infant, the chances of it being a severe form of the disease are much greater.

Each child's response to LCH and its treatments vary widely and your doctor will speak with you about your child's individual situation.

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