Personalized Treatment for Children with Cancer
Treating children with cancer isn’t the same as treating adults -- it requires specialized treatment that considers the child’s physical and emotional vulnerabilities. At Duke Children’s, your child receives leading-edge care from a highly skilled team that uses the latest techniques to diagnose and treat cancer. We understand the toll childhood cancer can take on your child and your family. Our team of experts offers a full spectrum of family-friendly services and support. We are here for you during and after your child’s treatment.
Working Together to Beat Childhood Cancer
Cancer in children isn’t common -- no single facility sees enough cases of childhood cancer to make significant treatment advances. That’s why pediatric cancer specialists across the country work together to discover new treatments and determine which therapies are most effective. This collaboration has led to better ways to treat cancer; today, nearly 90 percent of children with cancer survive. Duke Children’s is part of that effort as a member of the Children's Oncology Group, a worldwide organization dedicated to childhood and adolescent cancer research.
We collaborate with hundreds of organizations through the Children's Oncology Group to develop care and improve treatment for kids with cancer. At Duke Children’s, your child has access to the most promising treatments and receives care that’s developed by leading cancer care experts. We’re not only focused on your child’s treatment today, we create a care plan that minimizes any side effects from radiation or chemotherapy treatment that may affect their health in the future.
- A team approach. Your child’s care team includes pediatric specialists in medical oncology, radiation oncology, ocular oncology, orthopaedics, surgery, anesthesia, and pain management, as well as highly skilled nurses who specialize in caring for kids with cancer. The team also includes psychologists, social workers, and dietitians, and we bring in experts from other pediatric specialties as needed. We draw from all resources and expertise at Duke Health.
- Personalized treatment for your child. We use advanced diagnostic testing to identify the type of cancer and if it’s related to a genetic change. This allows us to develop a treatment that’s specific to that type of cancer and create a follow-up plan for long-term cancer screening based on your child’s genetic makeup. We use a full range of tests to design a treatment that offers your child the best results. Tests may include blood and bone marrow testing, biopsies, and imaging exams such as ultrasound, MRI, and PET.
- You’ll be well-informed about what to expect. You’ll receive clear information about your child's condition, treatment options, and side effects so you can make informed decisions. We offer a wide range of services to help -- emotional support for the entire family, help with coordinating your child’s care, and much more. We're here to support you and offer guidance whenever you need us.
Comprehensive Childhood Cancer Treatment
Children treated at Duke Children’s have access to a variety of services that are designed to make your child’s experience as positive as possible.
- If your child doesn’t feel well or needs treatment over the weekend or after hours, you can get outpatient services 12 hours a day, seven days a week at Duke Children’s Valvano Day Hospital. We offer outpatient services such as chemotherapy, transfusions, and lab tests so your child doesn’t have to be admitted to the hospital.
- We want your child to be as comfortable as possible during treatment. Our team focuses on managing your child’s symptoms and other aspects of treatment that affect your child’s quality of life. We help with pain management, supportive nutrition, relaxation techniques, and more to help your child get through treatment.
- Teens and young adults are too old to be treated like young kids but too young for adult care. Our Adolescent and Young Adult Program brings together the expertise of pediatric and adult cancer specialists to determine what’s best for each person, along with psychological support.
- Once your child has finished treatment, we continue to support you through childhood cancer survivorship services. We offer long-term follow-up services for preventive health care, including screenings, ongoing surveillance, and care for symptoms that develop later as a result of treatment. In addition, we can help your child transition to adult cancer care services, if needed, when they’re ready.
Having a child with cancer is hard for the entire family. We offer a variety of family-friendly services to explain what’s happening to siblings and provide emotional support to everyone in your family. We understand the impact cancer can have on your child and your family, so we offer special services to help you through it. You can depend on knowledgeable, compassionate experts at your side.
- If your child is in the hospital, you can relax in the Ronald McDonald House Family Room. You can grab a light meal, shower, do laundry, or use a computer with internet access.
- Get support, education, and guidance to help you and your child during treatment and hospitalization. Our child life specialists make your child's health care experience positive -- whether it's explaining a procedure, offering encouragement, or using fun activities to take your child’s mind off treatment.
- We help you navigate the medical system and coordinate the variety of health services your child needs. Our social workers can help you work with insurance providers, connect you with resources, and help you manage the details related to your child’s care.