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Featured Stories

  • Phillip with Bre

    Diagnosed with stage 4 Ewing sarcoma on Labor Day of 2013, 14-year-old Philip Rawls’ life was turned upside down. Two years later—and nearly 18 months in remission—he sees hope in the research of pediatric oncologist, Dr. Ian Davis.

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  • Dr. Andrew Smitherman with patients.

    Childhood cancer patients are surviving in greater numbers but often suffer later complications related to their treatments. A grant from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation is enabling pediatric oncology fellow, Dr. Andrew Smitherman, to study how doctors can best care for survivors.

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  • Phineas is a survivor.

    When 4-year-old Phineas’ leukemia didn’t respond to conventional chemotherapy, his pediatric oncologist, Dr. Philip Roehrs, found him a clinical trial testing a groundbreaking new treatment called T-cell immunotherapy. Phineas, now 6, owes his life to that trial—and soon other North Carolina cancer patients will have access to T-cell immunotherapy trials at UNC.

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Pediatric cancer care from some of the nation's best doctors.

Pediatric Cancer

When your child is diagnosed with cancer, you want the best medical care available. At UNC Children’s, you’ll find the advanced skills and leading oncology treatments you expect from an academic medical center. But that’s not all. You’ll also find a compassionate partner that supports your entire family through treatment, recovery, and survivorship.

Nationally Ranked Pediatric Cancer Care

When you choose UNC Children’s, you join families from all over North Carolina in their fight against cancer. You can trust our established approach to care, too, because:

  • Our pediatric oncology program is part of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, and the NCI rates us as “exceptional,” its top rating for cancer centers.
  • We are a member of the Children’s Oncology Group, an NCI-funded organization dedicated to finding the best new therapies for children with cancer.
  • We are a Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers, a recognition from Blue Cross Blue Shield for our specialty care of acute leukemia and other cancers.
  • N.C. Children’s Hospital is consistently recognized as one of the top hospitals for pediatric cancer care by U.S. News & World Report in its annual “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals” list.
  • UNC Medical Center is included in the 2014 edition of “100 Hospitals and Health Systems With Great Oncology Programs,” a list by Becker’s Hospital Review recognizing programs that lead the way in quality patient care, cancer outcomes and research.
  • Our cancer care program is accredited by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons, a demonstration of our commitment to provide comprehensive high-quality, patient-centered care close to home.

Expert Care

Experts in Caring for Kids

Cancers that develop in children are different from those that develop in adults—and they respond differently to certain treatments. At UNC Children’s, your child will benefit from pediatric specialists who understand the unique physical, emotional, and developmental needs of kids with cancer.

Childhood Cancers We Treat

Find expert treatment for all types of pediatric cancers, including:

  • Adrenocortical carcinoma – Cancer in the outer layer of the adrenal gland
  • Bladder cancer
  • Brain and nervous system tumors
    • Astrocytomas
    • Brainstem glioma
    • Central nervous system (CNS) atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor
    • Central nervous system (CNS) embryonal tumors
    • Medulloblastoma
  • Carcinoid tumors – Occur in the lung, bowel or liver
  • Heart cancer
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma, hepatoblastoma – Cancers of the liver
  • Kidney cancer
  • Laryngeal cancer – Occurs in the part of the throat that contains the vocal cords
  • Leukemia – Cancer of the blood cells
    • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
    • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
  • Lymphoma – Cancer of the lymphatic system
    • Hodgkin lymphoma
    • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer – Occurs in the lining of the nose and pharynx
  • Oral cancer – Occurs in the mouth
  • Salivary gland cancer
  • Sarcoma – Cancer of soft tissues (muscle), connective tissues (tendons and cartilage) or bones
    • Chordoma – Occurs in the bones of the skull and spine
    • Ewing sarcoma – Occurs in bones and soft tissues around the bones, often the arms, legs, ribs, spine, or pelvis
    • Rhabdomyosarcoma – Usually begins in muscles
  • Stomach (gastric) cancer
  • Thymoma and thymic carcinoma – Tumors on the outside surface of the thymus gland
  • Thyroid cancer

Conquering Cancer

Conquering Cancer Together

At UNC Children’s, your family is an important part of your child’s cancer care team. Your child’s doctors, nurses and other support people work together to make sure you have the information you need to make decisions about your child’s health care.

Count on your care team to answer your questions, help you keep track of your appointments, connect you with support services, and address any concerns that arise during your child’s treatment. And with special support groups for teens, siblings and caregivers, you’ll find programs for the whole family.

Other members of your child’s team may include oncologists (cancer doctors), physicians who specialize in specific body systems, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, dietitians, chaplains, cancer researchers, Hospital School teachers, psychologists, pharmacists, therapists and others. They’ll check in with you and each other regularly to coordinate care.

Advanced Treatments

Advanced Cancer Treatments

Your child’s care team will work with you and your child to create a personalized plan that applies the latest technology and treatments. It could include:

  • Medical management (prescription drugs)
  • Immunotherapy (biotherapy)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
    • CyberKnife® stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS)
    • Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), including TomoTherapy®
    • Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT)
  • Surgery, including minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgeries for select procedures
  • Bone marrow transplants, also known as hematopoietic cell transplants
    • Type: Autologous, Allogenic,
    • Stem cell source: Bone Marrow, Peripheral Blood, or Umbilical Cord Blood
    • Donor: Self, sibling, relative, unrelated individual, or cord blood unit
  • Clinical trials – Your child may be eligible for one of more than 250 clinical trials of the latest treatments developed at UNC or available through our affiliation with national clinical trials groups

Survivorship Care

At UNC Children’s, your child’s care doesn’t stop when his or her cancer is cured. We’ll stay with your child—and your family—to provide long-term medical care, as well as emotional, social, and education support.

Contact Us

Call 919-966-1178 to make an appointment with one of UNC Children’s pediatric cancer experts.

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