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Solid Tumor Conditions and Treatment Overview

There are many different kinds of solid tumors, and they can originate from any of the different types of tissues within the human body. Most common are tumors that originate from cells of the nervous system, including those that make and secrete substances for communication between cells, tissues and organs. Another common group of tumors originate from bones, and the structures that support and hold them together. Each of these groups of tumors (and others), have a core group of medical providers that specialize in the care of those patients.

Types of Solid T​umors:

Our Treatment Process and Options

Some solid tumors go away on their own, while some need to be removed in an operation. Either way, all our solid tumor patients require checkups for period of a few years to make sure the tumor does not return.

Certain tumors need more treatment than a single operation. These tumors can require long-term medications, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or multiple operations for the best chance for cure and normal function. Coordination of care is key to successfully treating a Solid Tumor, as is the efforts of our various multidisciplinary support staff in supportive care, nutrition, family support, physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy and complementary therapies.

Per year, only 13,000 children in the United States develop solid tumors. For these patients, the most important aspect is the correct diagnosis. Historically, solid tumor cure rates were very low because many patients were given an incorrect diagnosis. Over the last few decades we have learned a great deal about the types of solid tumors and the best course of treatment for each kind. The team of experts at Phoenix Children's spends a great deal of time on scans and testing for each pediatric solid tumor patient because the correct diagnosis is paramount to the cure.

In order to make an accurate diagnosis, our physicians will complete a medical history and physical examination of our patients and may perform numerous tests, including:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)

  • X-ray

  • Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan

  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan

  • Ultrasound (also called sonography)

  • Biopsy

Once a diagnosis is made, your child's physician will determine a specific course of treatment based on many factors, including:

  • Your child's age, overall health, and medical history

  • Type, location, and extent/stage of the disease

  • Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the disease

  • Your opinion or preference

Families are provided with the opportunity to participate in clinical trials unique to the research projects being completed at Phoenix Children's Hospital and our network of research partners. Eligible patients being treated for solid tumors can choose to participate in a program that matches patients with the best possible treatment options and the most up-to-date medications available.

Medications and Chemotherapy

Our facilities are available and capable for the care of patients receiving chemotherapy. The staff is fully trained, nationally certified, and highly experienced in the care of children and young adults with cancer. All chemotherapy agents are available for administration at Phoenix Children's, and new patients younger than 25 are always accepted.

Surgery

Patients at our Solid Tumor Program have access to surgical therapy across all specialties, including but not limited to General Surgery; Ear, Nose and Throat specialties; Orthopaedic Surgery; Orthopaedic Oncology; Plastic Surgery; Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery; Dental Surgery; and Urology. A specifically trained Pediatric Anesthesiologist stays and monitors the patient through the entire operation. After the operation, a Pain Service specialist monitors and contributes to the care of your child.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation is used is some patients as a part of treatment. A state-of-the-art facility at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale provides excellent care for this therapy. In 2015, a Proton Beam facility will open at that campus, to provide an even higher level of service. If children need sedation or anesthesia to comfortably undergo their treatment at the Mayo Clinic campus, our Pediatric Anesthesiologists are available for that need as well.

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