Surgical Treatment of Childhood Cancer

UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh is a major referral center for childhood cancer in the region and includes a comprehensive pediatric surgical oncology program. It is a charter member of the Children’s Oncology Group and one of its most active participants. This program specializes in the management of infants, children, teens and young adults with the following conditions.

Genital Tumors

Genital tumors are more accurately called germ cell tumors. Germ cells are the reproductive cells found to develop into testicles for males and ovaries in females. Germ cell cancers are rare, occurring in only 4 percent of all childhood cancers. Learn more about genital tumors.

Kidney Tumors

A variety of tumors make up the spectrum of childhood kidney cancers. Tumors of the kidney are often not diagnosed until they are fairly large and cause pain or swelling. Wilms tumor is the most common, making up about 8 percent of all childhood cancers. Learn more about kidney tumors.

Liver Tumors

Although it is unknown exactly how cancers of the liver develop, it is believed to begin during the growth of the liver cells. If a mistake occurs during the growth of these cells, the cells begin to multiply at an abnormally fast rate, causing a tumor. Tumors originating in the liver account for 1 to 2 percent of all childhood cancers. Learn more about liver tumors.

Mediastinal and Chest Wall Tumors

Mediastinal tumors occur in the chest cavity, which contains the heart, large blood vessels, trachea, thymus gland and connective tissues between the lungs. Chest wall masses in infants and children may be secondary tumors or the result of other cancers that have spread. Primary mediastinal tumors include neuroblastomas and lymphomas. Learn more about mediastinal and chest wall tumors.


Neuroblastoma is a solid tumor that usually develops in the nerve tissue of the adrenal glands, located on the top of each kidney. Tumors are sometimes also found in the pelvis, neck or chest. Neuroblastoma is typically diagnosed under the age of 5 years old and makes up approximately 7.5 percent of all childhood cancers. Learn more about nueroblastomas.

Soft-tissue Sarcoma

Soft tissues connect, support, and surround body parts. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, fat, blood vessels and nerves are all considered soft-tissue structures. Soft-tissue sarcomas (cancers) can be found anywhere in the body, but especially the arms and legs or the chest and abdomen. Learn more about soft-tissue sarcoma.