The Surgical Oncology Program specializes in surgical treatment for many different types of cancers and tumors. Because cancer often requires multiple forms of treatment, having an oncology specialist is vital to knowing how treatments such as medication and chemotherapy may affect surgery.
Our surgeons work with a multidisciplinary team to ensure they provide the most optimal treatment. Depending on the type of cancer or tumor, our surgical oncology specialists may work with doctors from a range of other specialties, including oncology, radiation oncology, radiology, pathology and many others.
One dedicated team for all of your child’s needs
While successful cancer treatment requires collaboration between departments across the hospital, the Surgical Oncology Program itself also relies on a robust team. Each role below is vital to devising a customized treatment plan for each patient and successfully executing it.
While our surgical oncologists can also perform surgery for many other conditions, their main focus is the surgical treatment of cancer. Our surgical oncology experts include specialists from pediatric surgery, pediatric urology, pediatric orthopedic surgery and pediatric otolaryngology. This team of experts has a deep understanding of how to ensure comprehensive surgical care for these unique cases. Additionally, our surgeons understand how the removal of a tumor might affect other organs or systems within the body. This is vital to successful long-term care of our patients.
Our pediatric surgical oncologists work closely with pediatric solid tumor oncologists to coordinate the approach to the surgery. Our board-certified oncologists also help to determine the initial cancer diagnosis and have extensive experience in treating children with cancer, which can vary greatly from treating cancer in adults.
Our interventional radiologists play a vital role in detailing the extent of tumors within the body. Not only do they provide imaging prior to the surgery to help the surgeons plan their approach, but they use imaging technology in real-time during the surgery to enable the surgeons to precisely remove the tumor.
If your child gets radiation therapy as a part of their cancer treatment, we partner with a dedicated pediatric radiation team at the University of Colorado just next door. Depending on your child’s specific diagnosis, we may use radiation as the primary form of treatment, or we may use it before or after surgery, chemotherapy or stem cell transplantation. The radiation oncology group works closely with the rest of the multidisciplinary team to allow seamless coordination of your child’s care.
Oncologic genetic counselors
As part of our cancer predisposition program, our genetic counselors help to determine the cause of cancers and tumors, which might identify a hereditary cancer condition. Understanding if a child is predisposed to certain cancers or tumors can help the surgeons make the best choices about whether or not to do surgery, what type of surgery to perform and whether any other medical aspects should be considered prior to surgery.
Pediatric oncology chemotherapy nurses
If your child is undergoing chemotherapy for their cancer treatment, our chemotherapy nurses work to ensure that the treatment does not interfere with any other medication they might be taking. By working closely with the anesthesiologist and pharmacist, these nurses help plan medication during surgery and create a plan for after surgery.
Our surgical oncologists work with our pediatric anesthesiologists to ensure children are asleep and do not feel any pain during surgery. After surgery, they also help ensure that any pain caused by the surgery is minimized as much as possible. Because children react differently to anesthesia than adults do, all of our pediatric anesthesiologists are specially trained to work with kids and keep them safe during surgery. Before surgery, parents can meet the anesthesiologists to ask questions and ease concerns about the process.
Many children with cancer will need to take multiple medications to help with treatment before and after surgery. Our pediatric pharmacists work to ensure that one medication doesn’t interfere or interact with another and that their medication plan is optimal for each child’s specific circumstances.
Child life specialists
Undergoing a surgical procedure can be scary for anyone. That’s why our child life specialists are there to help explain the procedure in a way children can understand. By using techniques like role playing with stuffed animals, our child life team helps to explain the surgery and ease their fears. Our specialists also provide therapeutic play activities to help decrease pain, meet treatment goals, express feelings, learn new skills and meet developmental milestones.