Pediatric urologic cancer in children and adolescents is rare, but it does occur. The most common types of urologic cancers in children and adolescents are kidney cancer, testis cancer, bladder and prostate cancer. There are about 650 to 750 cases of pediatric kidney cancer and 500 to 1,000 cases of testis cancer per year in the United States. There are about 100 cases of bladder or prostate cancer per year.
Although pediatric urologic cancer is rare, there are some red flags that primary care providers should be aware of as well as non-invasive imaging that can be done as the first step in the diagnostic workup.
Listen to a pediatric urologist discuss urologic cancer
In today’s episode, we talk with Nicholas Cost, MD, about the diagnosis and management of pediatric urologic cancer in children and adolescents, including initial presentations and ongoing and follow-up management for primary care providers.
Dr. Cost is a pediatric urologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado and Associate Professor of Pediatrics of Surgery and Urology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
In this episode, our expert discusses:
- His unique perspective having trained in both pediatric oncology and pediatric urology
- Red flags for a possible oncological diagnosis and the utility of an ultrasound as the starting point of the diagnostic workup
- Considering the genetic predisposition of urologic cancer
- Age factors related to cryptorchidism and the possibility of testicular tumors later in life
- The sensitivity of the topic of kids with tumors and tempering the conversation
- How age impacts presentation and why there are often delayed diagnoses with adolescents
- The need for educating adolescent boys about the importance of self-exams
- Recommendations for talking to families and tempering their expectations
- When lab tests are done and tailoring the test selection to individual patients
- Balanced treatment to gain desired outcomes while avoiding unnecessary side effects
- Shifting from a focus only on cure to focusing also on preserving fertility
- Preserving the fertility of pre-pubertal girls and the challenging medical ethics around experimental treatment
- The lack of research about the sexual functioning of cancer survivors
- Incorporating psychological counseling in approaching treatment holistically
- Planning for long-term follow-up treatment
Treatment of pediatric urologic cancer at Children’s Colorado
The Urologic Tumor Program at Children's Colorado specializes in the diagnosis and surgical treatment and/or removal of benign and malignant tumors of the kidney, adrenal gland, bladder, pelvis and testicles in children, teens and young adults.
Children's Colorado is a member of the Children's Oncology Group, a national research program for childhood cancers. We are active participants in local and national research projects and are currently developing studies focused on quality-of-life issues for children, teens and young adults with tumors of the kidney, adrenal gland, bladder, pelvis and testicles.
Refer a patient to Children's Colorado.