General Surgical Complications of Cancer Therapy

UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh is committed to providing individualized expert care for each child with cancer. Parents and child have a multidisciplinary team of experts to provide and help carry out an specialized treatment plan. This treatment team includes a wide range of experts including oncologists, surgeons, nurse practitioners, pastoral care providers, social workers and nutritionists. Family support and educational resources are also readily available.

The best treatment for childhood cancer is a combination therapy of surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation. Surgery and radiation are used to treat the primary tumor, while chemotherapy is administered to treat distant tumor cells that have spread throughout the body.

There are three roles for surgery in the treatment of cancer:

The first role is to remove solid tumors. These tumors can either be the primary tumor or tumors that have spread to other parts of the body.

A second use of surgery is to determine the type of cancer a patient has. A biopsy of a mass is taken in order to identify if it is benign or malignant cancer. This identification is important so that further therapy can be arranged, if needed.

Surgery is also used to provide long-term IV access used to administer chemotherapy.

For best results, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh practices multi-disciplinary cancer treatment. This means that all aspects of care are provided, from nurses to nutritionists and everything in between.