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Keywords:

  • anesthesia;
  • pediatric;
  • oncology;
  • chemotherapy;
  • radiation therapy;
  • toxicity

Abstract

The anesthesiologist who cares for children with cancer or for survivors of childhood cancer should possess a basic understanding of cancer treatment. While this is an ever-changing field, a basic knowledge of chemotherapeutic drugs, radiation therapy, and the toxicities of each is necessary to prepare a safe anesthetic plan. Such an understanding also assists the anesthesiologist as the perioperative specialist for these children in consultation with the surgeon and oncologist. This article, which is the first of a three-part review series, will review current principles of cancer therapy and the general mechanisms of toxicity to the child. Although this article is not intended to comprehensively review the fundamentals of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, the consequences of anticancer therapy that impact perioperative care and decision making are presented for the anesthesiologist.