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Children and Cancer

Pediatric cancer is rare, but it is the leading cause of disease-related death in children and adolescents in Texas and the U.S. Childhood cancer is a global term referring to the age of the patient, rather than a specific disease. There are many types of cancer that occur most often in children. Within our practice, we have specialists dedicated to treating our youngest patients

  • Pediatric cancers represent less than one percent of new cancer diagnoses annually.
  • Childhood cancer is not a form of cancer, but a global term referring to many different cancer types.
  • Childhood cancer is not well understood, but research is advancing our knowledge every day.
  • Pediatric cancers are very different from adult cancers. The most common types of pediatric cancer are leukemia, brain cancers, neuroblastoma, and lymphoma.
  • The overall five-year survival rates for pediatric cancers are very high – more than 80 percent. Survival rates vary widely across cancer types. While some have improved in recent years, others remain low.
  • Patients who were diagnosed with cancer as a child or adolescent are at higher risk for developing cancer as an adult and should see their doctor regularly.

Kids Are Different

There are significant differences in the way we treat children and adults with cancer. Generally, our physicians can treat children more aggressively than adults because they are healthier and stronger. Often, drugs that may not work for our adult patients are very successful in treating children. Many of the medications given to patients with pediatric cancer are in clinical trials.

Texas Oncology offers a highly specialized, multi-disciplinary team approach. The team includes pediatric specialists in surgery, radiology, nursing, social work, pharmacy, physical therapy, and child development working together for our patients. The team treats the tiniest of newborns through adolescents and young adults, up to age 21 in Dallas, Odessa, and Mt. Pleasant.

Texas Oncology is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group, an initiative funded by the National Cancer Institute. This group is focused exclusively on conducting clinical trials for children and adolescents with cancer and enables our patients to access the most promising new cancer treatments.

Weekly meetings are held to discuss each patient and family to determine progress, address problems, and coordinate efforts to realize the best possible outcomes for our patients.

We also offer support groups for teenagers, siblings and parents to meet, discuss common problems, and explore feelings associated with a cancer diagnosis.

Camp I Hope

Each summer, our physicians participate in Medical City Children’s Hospital’s Camp I Hope in Anna, Texas. Our patients and their siblings spend a week doing all the things kids like to do in the summer – swimming, rowing, climbing, arts and crafts, and being outdoors. Campers interact with other cancer patients and their families and realize they are not alone. Most importantly, the camp allows them to have a week away from trips to their cancer center for treatments.