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The return of cancer can happen after apparently successful treatment of the disease, or it can happen during treatment itself. The National Cancer Institute defines recurrence as "a reappearance of cancer at the same site (local), near the initial site (regional), or in other areas of the body (metastatic)."
When a recurrence of cancer is diagnosed, treatment options may be limited. However, research is continually being done to improve cancer survival. Using clinical trials and medical research, tremendous advances have been made in the treatment of childhood cancer. Continued progress in the field of pediatric oncology depends upon identification and testing of experimental therapeutic agents in carefully conducted Phase I (1) and Phase II (2) trials.
In a Phase I trial, the goal is to determine the safest dose and schedule of the drug for children. During this phase side-effects are carefully monitored and we study how the drug behaves in each child’s body. Once we know the safest dose, then, in a Phase II trial, we study the drug treatment 's effectiveness in causing shrinkage (response, remission) in different types of cancers. Before an experimental agent can be evaluated in children, it is carefully studied in the laboratory and in adults.
Find out more about the types of diseases included in Phase I and Phase II trials.