Pediatric Cancer

St. Jude Affiliate Clinic at Novant Health Hemby Children's Hospital is one of the premier pediatric cancer clinics in the nation. Our board-certified pediatric oncologists and pediatric oncology nurses are committed to providing the best cancer care for children ranging in age from infancy to adolescence.

What is oncology?

Oncology is the field of medicine devoted to the study and treatment of cancer. The doctors in our clinic have devoted their careers to diagnosing and treating childhood cancers. Common cancer treatments include radiation, chemotherapy and, in some cases, surgery. Just like every child is different, every case is also different. Your physician will outline a personalized treatment plan based on your child's diagnosis.

Research and clinical trials

St. Jude Affiliate Clinic at Novant Health Hemby Children's Hospital is the only St. Jude affiliate in the Carolinas. That means your child is connected to experts beyond our walls. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital leads and takes part in pediatric oncology cooperative group research. These studies have helped to increase cancer survival rates - from 20%, when St. Jude opened in 1962, to over 80% today.

We're also one of only three St. Jude affiliate clinics in the nation with access to both St. Jude clinical trials and Children's Oncology Group (COG) trials. Our doctors also regularly take part in continuing education conferences and classes to learn the very latest about treatments for childhood cancer and blood disorders. That means our patients have access to the widest-possible range of advanced research for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer and blood disorders.

Our doctors work closely with physicians and staff at St. Jude on patient treatment plans. In some cases, children may go to St. Jude in Memphis to take part in a clinical trial, and then receive ongoing care in Charlotte. Your child and family will have local resources and support including your primary care pediatrician as well as advanced pediatric specialists at Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital, along with access to life-saving treatments and research from St. Jude.

Getting a second opinion

You do not have to stop at your child's first diagnosis and recommended treatment plan. Consider getting a second opinion with a team of experts through our Multidisciplinary Cancer Clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina. We have had patients travel from all 50 states to meet and participate with our cancer experts as they review individual cases and discuss possible treatment options. You can be present, right there in the room with these experts, ask questions on your child's behalf, and know that your child is getting the best care possible for your child's individual diagnosis and needs. We will connect you with a wealth of support services, including a nurse navigator who is just an email or phone call away.

Some common childhood cancers

Leukemia (cancer of the blood cells) and cancers of the brain are the most common types of childhood cancer, according to U.S. government statistics.

About one-third of childhood cancers are leukemias. The most common type of leukemia is acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Leukemia develops in the bone marrow. Bone marrow produces the blood cells your body needs. In children with leukemia, the bone marrow begins to make white blood cells that do not mature correctly, but continue to reproduce even after the body runs out of room for them.

A tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue. Tumors are not always harmful. The most common solid tumors in children are brain tumors (gliomas and medulloblastomas). Treatment often includes a combination of surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.

Other childhood cancers we treat

  • Hodgkins disease
  • Neruoblastoma
  • Wilms tumor
  • Lymphomas
  • Sarcomas

Infection risk during cancer treatment

Children receiving cancer treatment are more prone to infection at certain times during their treatment. If your child's white blood cell count is low, there is a higher risk, so it is important to prevent infection. To prevent infection, make sure your child:

  • Bathes or showers daily.
  • Rinses the mouth with water and practices good dental care after eating and before bed.
  • Washes hands thoroughly and regularly, especially before eating or after playing outside or using the bathroom.
  • Avoids large groups of people when white blood cell count is less than 1,000.

Signs of infection include fever greater that 101 degrees Fahrenheit; chills, shaking and sweating; pain when urinating; loose stools; cough or sore throat; drainage from sores; earaches; stomach pains; or tiredness. If your child shows signs of infection, and especially if your child has a fever, call our office immediately at 704-394-1900 You might be asked for your child's last white blood cell count.