Children's Hospital Colorado

Surgical Oncology Program

Providing surgical expertise and collaborative, multidisciplinary cancer treatment for children.

At our Surgical Oncology Program, our surgeons are dedicated to the care of children with cancer. We diagnose and treat all types of childhood cancers. And, working closely with our Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, we provide a comprehensive cancer center focused entirely on children.

Through a strong collaborative relationship, we offer the most modern diagnostic and therapeutic options, including specialized imaging techniques, chemotherapy regimens, surgical therapies and postoperative care that is specific to each patient. The high quality of care our surgeons, oncologists and nurses provide is matched only by the advanced technology and modern techniques we employ.

Our care extends to our patients’ families as well through education, psychological support and counseling. We offer a facility that not only provides world-class pediatric cancer treatment, but a team that is dedicated to the quality long-term holistic care.

Tests and cancer treatment designed just for kids

Imaging tests

We use radiologic imaging and nuclear imaging to understand the extent of your child’s cancer and tumor growth. Imaging tests allow us to see what is happening inside the body so we can make a diagnosis and plan the best approach to surgery. For any machine that requires radiation to create the image, such as an X-ray, we always use the least amount of radiation possible for your child.

Radiologic imaging

  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: a method using X-ray equipment to create detailed images of organs, bones, soft tissues and blood vessels
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): a method using a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of organs and tissues within the body
  • Ultrasound: a method using sound waves to produce images of the structures within the body
  • X-ray: a method of imaging that uses radiation to show the internal structure of the body

Nuclear imaging

  • Positron emission technology (PET) scan: a method that uses tiny amounts of radioactive materials (radiotracers), a special camera and a computer to create 3D images that help doctors analyze how your child’s internal organs and tissue function on a cellular level
  • Dotatate PET scan: a method that uses an injection of a small amount of a radioactive drug called Dotatate, which attaches to neuroendocrine tumors and shows them as bright spots on the PET image
  • MIGB scan: a method that uses an injection of a radioactive medication (radiopharmaceutical) called iodine-123 meta-iodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) to create images that help confirm if there are tumors on nerve tissues

Diagnostic tests

  • Laboratory tests: testing of the blood or urine to check for any infections present in the body and to check if the organs are functioning properly
  • Biopsy: a procedure to remove a tissue sample and examine it under a microscope
  • Genetic testing: testing the DNA to determine if a hereditary condition or predisposition is present

Surgical treatment

Surgery is one of the most common forms of cancer treatment and is an important step in removing the tumor and stopping the spread of cancer. The surgical removal of a tumor depends heavily on the tumor’s location, size and type. Many pediatric specialists help us perform the surgeries and we use several tools and techniques to ensure we get the best results possible.

  • Interventional radiology: uses imaging devices like those listed above to create highly detailed images displayed on a monitor to help guide surgeons during surgery
  • Minimally invasive surgery: a surgical technique that uses cameras and small incisions rather than the large incisions that are traditionally used in open surgery

Where to find surgical oncology services

We offer all our surgical oncology services at our Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado. Our state-of-the-art facility was designed with children in mind, from the colors we used to paint the walls to the combined play/waiting rooms.

All our operating rooms are staffed with nurses and medical technicians who are trained in pediatrics. During every operation, our surgeons and anesthesiologists work closely together to provide the best care for your child. All our anesthesiologists are fellowship-trained in pediatric anesthesiology so they know how to make children feel safe and comfortable prior to surgery.