About Texas Children’s Cancer Center
Experts in childhood cancer and blood disorders
With a staff of renowned experts in the treatment and research of pediatric and adolescent cancer as well as hematologic disorders, we have developed a wide array of programs aimed at curing children with diagnoses ranging from the most common to the very rare.
Working as a team to cure kids
Treatment is organized around diagnosis-specific multidisciplinary treatment teams comprised of physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, pharmacists and child life specialists. All patients have their own primary physician who oversees their care. Patients are seen by the same doctors, nurses, and social workers on an ongoing basis to provide a sense of trust, safety and comfort. Patients receive the highest standard of treatment for their disease because they are cared for by an entire team of experts rather than a single doctor. All our physicians are board-certified in pediatric oncology and hematology.
Groundbreaking research and innovative therapies
As a recognized research leader in the fields of pediatric hematology and oncology, we translate breakthrough findings from the laboratory into the clinic.
We are currently conducting over 200 clinical trials – more than any other center in the nation.
Our Developmental Therapeutics Program has been a leader in the study of novel agents for the treatment of cancer and hematologic disorders. Our vast expertise in the development of new therapeutics means our patients have access to the most advanced and innovative therapies.
Our physicians employ evidence-based guidelines and the most advanced clinical trials in the delivery of hematology and oncology care. For example, recognizing that clinical trials are the standard of care for all children with cancer, every eligible patient is considered for entry on National Cancer Institute-approved clinical trials; approximately 80 percent of our patients are registered in these studies. These treatment studies represent leading-edge therapies in the field to provide the best treatments for children with cancer.
Working as a partner with community physicians Our physicians and staff work extremely closely with referring physicians. We maintain excellent communications with patients’ referring physicians to ensure that care delivery is seamless.
Continuity of care
Because we work so closely with our patients’ referring physicians, we are able to maintain excellent continuity of care. This is particularly well illustrated by our approach to cancer survivors.
During the past 60 years, pediatric oncologists have made great strides in improving the overall cure rate of children with cancer.
Approximately 80 percent of children diagnosed with cancer now survive – and this rate is likely to improve in the coming years.
There are currently more than 350,000 childhood cancer survivors in the United States. Because child and young adult cancer survivors are at risk for serious medical problems that result from their illness or its treatment, Texas Children’s Cancer Center is in contact with each of its survivors on a yearly basis.
In addition, we have developed an online application called Passport for Care®, which is a database-driven, Internet-based decision support tool. Passport for Care gives healthcare providers access to survivors’ personal medical information and guides long-term follow-up screening for late effects of childhood cancer to monitor risk for chronic medical illnesses.
Passport for Care is a major component of our Long Term Survivor Program, which monitors patients for delayed side effects and complications caused by previous cancer therapies. Though relatively rare, these “late” effects are potentially serious, and often subtle and difficult to diagnose. Our Long Term Survivor Program has developed an international reputation as a leader in the field and has attracted a world-renowned faculty involved in local, national and international research that benefits today’s pediatric cancer patients and future survivors.
Healing the whole child, supporting the family
Our commitment to the whole child and family starts at the time of diagnosis and continues throughout treatment and beyond. The diagnosis and treatment of a childhood cancer or blood disorder presents extraordinary psychological, emotional and social challenges to the entire family. Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers offer a variety of services through our Psychosocial Support Program.
This helps patients and families adapt and mobilize their resources in the battle against these diseases.
All patients and their families have access to personal counseling. In addition, each patient and family is assigned a social worker to help them navigate successfully through their disease experience.
At the heart of these services is the personal commitment of every multidisciplinary team member to understand each young patient as a unique individual. Team members also collaborate with parents at each step in the process to be attentive to the quality of life of all family members, including siblings.
We also offer an appointment desk to families where they can obtain information or access resources that are available at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers as well as throughout the community, The appointment desk is located centrally within the registration area and is available to all patient families.
Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers also offer palliative care for seriously ill children. Our Palliative Care Team helps patients feel more comfortable by intervening to improve their quality of life. The team addresses symptoms such as pain, fatigue and nausea as well as helps assuage feelings of anxiety or depression. Palliative care can be given in addition to current treatment for an illness or on its own, and it has been shown to have positive physical and emotional benefits.
In addition to child life services, education programs, social workers, teen retreats, financial aid, hotels and housing, internet resources, pain management and palliative care, our programs for psychosocial support and education also include the Periwinkle Arts in Medicine Program education that provides educational and artistic opportunities for patients designed to help heal the whole child. Activities of our Periwinkle Arts in Medicine Program include: dance and musical theatre productions, art projects, songwriting, cultural dance, acting, writing and more.
Another example of a novel supportive care program is Purple Songs Can Fly, which provides a unique opportunity for patients and their siblings to work with professional composers and musicians to write and record their own songs. Through a highly creative, musical environment many children are better able to express the many and varied thoughts and feelings that emerge during treatment. Through Purple Songs Can Fly, children are able to share their music with friends and family in the form of individual CD recordings of their songs.
Our patients may also have the opportunity to attend several activity camps. Camp Periwinkle is a week-long summer camp that allows time away from a hospital setting and gives patients the chance to experience the joys of childhood in a healthy environment. In addition, we support patients who go to Camp YOLO (You Only Live Once), a twice a year special weekend camp for teenage cancer patients to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle with their physicians, nurses and members of their support team. Selected patients also gather yearly at Grand Teton National Park in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for the Grand Adventure at Teton Science Camp, where they are educated and trained about nature in a beautiful landscape rich with wildlife and breathtaking views.
The International Program
The International Program at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers is dedicated to the care and treatment of pediatric hematology and cancer worldwide. In the area of global hematology, we are conducting neonatal sickle cell screening in sub-Saharan Africa. In a world where 80 percent of children with cancer in industrialized countries are cured and 90 percent of children with cancer in sub- Saharan Africa die, we are making a difference. For example, we provide direct care and treatment for children with cancer in Botswana and Uganda and provide consultation for the over 90,000 children with HIV who are treated in the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative Network. Simultaneously, we train local nurses and doctors in these locations, building skills and leadership for pediatric hematology-oncology programs in these countries for the future.
Our child-friendly, state-of-the-art outpatient clinic is located on the 14th floor of the Clinical Care Center, the ambulatory care building of Texas Children’s Hospital. To help patients feel at home, the clinic has waiting areas, play areas, The Johnny Klevenhagen Family Education Room and the Joan and Stanford Alexander Learning Center. Activities such as arts and crafts, videos and computer games are available.
Our clinics conduct over 73,900 outpatient visits per year with patients that have traveled from more than 35 states and 26 countries.
Bone Marrow Transplant Outpatient Clinic
The Bone Marrow Transplant clinic is located adjacent to the Bone Marrow Transplant inpatient unit, and the service is accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT). The clinic provides diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care of patients who are in need of or have received a hematopoietic stem cell transplant. There are six exam rooms, two of which are equipped with negative pressure airflow and six infusion bays. The dedicated nursing staff is fully crosstrained for inpatient and outpatient services.
The Feigin Center for Research
Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers are national and international leaders in clinical and basic research. The centers are components of the Pediatric Hematology- Oncology Section of the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine.
We have over 300 researchers and staff in 38 different research laboratories performing cutting edge research. These laboratories are housed in the Feigin Center building at Texas Children’s Hospital. This $40 million recently expanded and renovated state-of-the-art research facility now offers research and office space to our physicians and scientists who lead innovative pediatric cancer and hematology research initiatives.