Multidisciplinary team approach for pediatric thoracic tumors: new horizons and oldies but goldies
Pediatric thoracic tumors are a heterogeneous group of neoplasms, accounting for 15–20% of all malignant tumors in childhood. The origin of these tumors can be either primitive or secondary to several solid tumors that metastasize at the thoracic level. These diseases require a complex approach, in which a combination of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery play a fundamental role. The complexity of a multidisciplinary approach requires specialized centers where all the professional figures needed are trained and experienced to guarantee the best possible treatment for these little patients. In fact, the care of children requires the collaborations of many disciplines and individuals: pediatric oncologists, radiation therapists, surgeons, radiologists, and pathologists work collaboratively with nurses, physician’s assistants, social workers, psychologists, nutritionists, physiotherapists, pharmacists, educators, teachers, and of course, parents and families. This means that children and families often need to travel great distances to receive state-of-art care, frequently with considerable costs and enormous strains on family and other social anchors that are so essential for normal children development. Nowadays, pediatric oncology pays more and more attention to new aspects, even not strictly medical ones, by resorting to interventions aimed at improving the quality of life. As a discipline, pediatric oncology also stands as a paradigm for cancer research. The majority of children diagnosed with cancer are enrolled in cooperative clinical trials that provide state-of-the-art therapy at the centres across the world. This strong collaboration and cooperation, that is the milestone of the pediatric cancer community, allowed the creation of networks fundamental for translational research discoveries and new investigators.