Cancer: clinical and diagnostic services
Comprehensive care for cancer requires a variety of services. We offer the following:
- Biopsies — A biopsy is a tissue sample that is examined under a microscope to determine whether abnormal cells are present. There are several types of biopsies. A needle biopsy is taken by inserting a hollow needle under the skin. A sample of tissue is drawn into the hollow part of the needle. Other types of biopsies are removed through a small incision in the skin or through a larger incision made during surgery. Sedation or general anesthesia is used when biopsies are taken.
- Blood tests — Blood tests are samples of blood used to provide information about the kinds and numbers of cells in the blood. The results help determine diagnosis and treatment.
- Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy — In the center of bones is a substance called bone marrow. Blood cells and platelets are manufactured in bone marrow. In a bone marrow aspiration, a needle is inserted in the hip and a syringe is used to withdraw a bone marrow sample. If a biopsy is performed, a small sliver of bone is taken from the same area. A bone marrow sample can reveal problems with the number or quality of blood cells and platelets being made or the presence of cancer cells. Sedation is used when a bone marrow aspiration is performed.
- Bone scan — A bone scan can detect infections, tumors, weaknesses and other problems in your child's bones. Your child will receive a small amount of radioactive dye through an intravenous (IV) line before the test begins. In some cases, sedation is used during bone scans to help a child lie still.
- Computed tomography (CT) scans — A computed tomography (CT) scan is an x-ray that produces more-detailed images of internal organs, bones and other tissues than a regular x-ray.
- Genetic tests — There are many types of genetic tests, which typically are performed as part of care provided in conjunction with Children's genetic program. Usually the tests are performed on a sample of blood, hair, skin, saliva or amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds a fetus during pregnancy). Laboratory professionals use the samples to look for changes in chromosomes, DNA or proteins.
- Lumbar puncture — A lumbar puncture, also known as a spinal tap, involves a needle inserted between the vertebra of the spine in order to collect a sample of cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Cerebrospinal fluid is helpful in determining whether cancer is present and/or how cancer treatment is progressing. Sedation or sometimes anesthesia is used for lumbar punctures.
- Magnetoencephalogram (MEG) — This non-invasive test maps the brain's electrical activity. For people with seizures, it can pinpoint where the seizures are coming from and plot the areas onto a picture of the brain from an MRI. This allows neurologists to locate important areas of brain functions, including motor, sensory and language. This kind of mapping is especially important when removing brain tumors.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides detailed images of the body and more clearly shows the soft tissues of the body. At Children's, hematologists and oncologists work closely with radiologists to provide fast, highly detailed images, which minimizes the time children must remain still and hold their breath during the MRI exam. Intra-operative MRI and 3 Tesla MRI are also available at Children's. Read a story about intra-operative MRI at Children's in Children's Practice Magazine.
- Functional MRI — This is a type of non-invasive, specialized brain and body scan used to map cell activity in the brain or spinal cord by imaging changes in blood flow. This is done before tumor removal surgery to pinpoint the location of important brain functions close to the tumor.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scans — A positron emission tomography (PET) scan can help determine how well organs and tissues are functioning by highlighting chemical activity in the body in light or dark colors on a PET image. PET scans also can help determine whether cancer has spread to another part of the body. Often, PET and CT scans are performed together.
- Video electroencephalography (video EEG) — During this test used to learn more about seizure activity, an EEG is done while being watched by a video camera. It is a painless, safe way to record the electrical activity in the brain and the child's physical activity at the same time.
- X-rays — X-rays play an important role in detecting many types of cancer and can help determine whether cancer has spread to another part of the body.
- Biologic therapy — Biologic therapy uses the body's own disease-fighting mechanisms to block the development and growth of cancerous cells. These treatments, which include antibody and targeted therapy, are a relatively new field and continue to change and grow with additional research.
- Chemotherapy — Chemotherapy uses drugs to treat a disease
- Oncology surgery — Oncology surgery includes everything from minimally invasive surgery to state-of-the-art intraoperative MRI-assisted surgery.
- Radiation therapy — Radiation therapy is the use of special x-ray beams to treat tumors. Some tumors respond well to this treatment, while others do not. Radiation therapy is often used in combination with surgery.
And as an organization dedicated to family-centered care, we offer many child and family services and resources, such as interpretive services.