Pediatric Hematology & Cancer Services
University of Utah Health is next to Primary Children’s Hospital (PCH). U of U Health, Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), and PCH work together to provide the best care for children with cancer.
PCH treats more than 90 percent of children with cancer from the Mountain West. Because we work together, you can rest assured your child has access to the very best resources each institution has to offer.
With the youngest median age in the country, Utah has a large population of children and adolescents. So HCI makes childhood and adolescent/young adult (AYA) cancers a priority. HCI is committed to improving ways we treat children’s cancer. We look for ways to prevent it or end it.
Conditions & Diseases We Treat
- Bleeding and clotting disorders
- Hemophilia, thrombophilia, thrombosis
- Blood disorders
- Brain tumors,
- Malignant neoplastic diseases of children (pediatric cancers)
- Solid tumors
Why Choose Us?
Our highly trained pediatric hematology and cancer specialists evaluate and treat many blood disorders and cancers. We work together as a multidisciplinary team to determine the best treatments for children, adolescents, and young adults.
Our pediatric cancer specialists participate in the international Children's Oncology Group (COG) and provide comprehensive care for childhood cancer patients. Our team includes nurse practitioners, child life specialists, social workers, nutritionists, care coordinators, integrative medicine practitioners, and pharmacists.
Our researchers also work hand in hand with doctors in the clinic to study children’s cancers.
Most Common Pediatric Cancers
These types of cancers are common in children:
- Leukemia is a blood cancer. It is the most common childhood cancer and makes up 33 percent of childhood cancer cases. There are two main categories of leukemia: acute and chronic. Acute cancers spread quickly and need prompt treatment. Chronic leukemia grows more slowly but can be harder to treat.
- Brain and spinal cord tumors make up 25 percent of childhood cancer cases.
- Neuroblastomas are tumors that start in nerve cells. They can form anywhere in the body but often turn up first in the stomach area. They make up about five percent of childhood cancers.
- Wilms tumors form in the kidneys. They make up about five percent of childhood cancers.
- Lymphoma forms in immune system cells. It tends to show up first in the throat, armpits, or groin. Lymphomas come in two types: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is more common in kids. It can show up anywhere in the body.
- Rhabdomyosarcoma is a type of soft-tissue sarcoma. It forms in the body’s connective tissues, such as muscle and fat. Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS), which usually forms before age six, shows up in the head, neck, groin, or bladder. Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) affects kids of all ages. It shows up in the arms, legs, or trunk.
- Bone sarcomas make up about three percent of childhood cancers. There are two main types. Osteosarcoma is more common and Ewing sarcoma appears mostly in younger teens. Tumors often show up near the ends of arm or leg bones.
- Retinoblastoma is a type of eye cancer. It makes up about one percent of childhood cancers. The cancer usually happens in young children, often around age two. Doctors often spot the cancer when they see that something looks unusual about the child's eyes, like a dark spot on the pupil.
Pediatric Cancer Symptoms
These are some symptoms of the most common types of childhood cancer:
- Easy bruising and bleeding
- Shortness of breath
- Petechiae (dark red spots on the skin)
- Weakness, looking tired or pale
- Pain below the ribs
- Brain and spinal cord tumors
- Crossed eyes
- Blurred vision
- Balance problems
- A lump or swelling
- Weight loss
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- Problems going to the bathroom
- Wilms tumors
- Swollen belly
- Loss of appetite
- Blood in the urine
- Painless, swollen lymph nodes
- Fever with no known reason
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Coughing and trouble breathing
- Doesn't go away
- Bulging or crossing of the eyes
- Difficulty urinating or having bowel movements
- Blood in the urine
- Blood from the nose, throat, vagina or rectum
- Bone sarcomas
- Bone pain
- Swelling around the tumor site
- Eyes appear to point in different directions
- Pain or redness in the eye
- Infection around the eye
- Eyeball looks larger than normal
- Iris and pupil look cloudy
Pediatric Cancer Treatment
We offer these medical and surgical options for your child:
- Radiation therapy
- Proton therapy
- Stereotactic radiosurgery
- Hormone therapy
Children receive most of their cancer care at Primary Children’s Hospital. Radiation therapy for pediatric cancer is provided at Huntsman Cancer Institute. Clinic visits, surgeries, and other procedures may occur at these locations or other U of U Health clinics.
Learn more about pediatric cancer treatment options from the National Cancer Institute.
Pediatric Cancer Specialists
Related Programs & Services
Huntsman-Intermountain Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Care Program (HIAYA)
This program serves adolescents and young adults (AYAs) between 15 and 39 years old who have been diagnosed with cancer. The program guides AYAs through cancer treatment and survivorship to make sure the unique needs of this age group are met.
Pediatric and Rare Tumor Clinic
The Pediatric and Rare Tumor Clinic focuses on hereditary syndromes that cause an increased risk for cancer and tumors in children and adults.
Family Cancer Assessment Clinic
The Family Cancer Assessment Clinic (FCAC) helps families find out if they have inherited syndromes that cause a higher risk of cancer. This includes Li Fraumeni syndrome, Lynch syndrome, paraganglioma, and others.
Long-term Care for Survivors of Pediatric Cancers
Our specialists work with adult survivors of childhood cancer to manage the unique long-term aspects of their treatment.
Fertility Preservation for Children
One significant side-effect of cancer treatment is that it can lead to infertility after treatment. Discussing cancer and infertility is most helpful when you talk to your doctor as early as possible after cancer diagnosis, as it’s best if fertility treatment occurs before chemotherapy or other cancer treatments.
The G. Mitchell Morris Cancer Learning Center (CLC) at Huntsman Cancer Institute is your source for free cancer information. Services include speaking to a cancer information specialist one-on-one, a free cancer library, and community engagement.