A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Make an appointment: 800-826-HOPE

Pediatric Cancers

Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders
Every day, City of Hope’s team of physicians and researchers aggressively study the science behind childhood cancers and provide comprehensive, family-centered care for children with cancer and blood disorders.

At City of Hope, our team of pediatric experts provides innovative and comprehensive care for children, adolescents and young adults. We offer both outstanding medical treatment and psychosocial support to young cancer patients and their family members. Pediatric oncologists, hematologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, pathologists and other specialists collaborate to develop targeted and effective treatment plans, while acknowledging the emotional, cognitive and social needs of our patients. Professionals in psychology; social work; child life; physical, occupational and recreational therapy; music therapy; and school reintegration provide individual attention and group activities for patients and their families.

The Pediatric Family Center at City of Hope Helford Clinical Research Hospital provides special accommodations for children, adolescents and young adults (AYA). With the patient at the center of our efforts, our environment features private rooms with a comfortable sleeper chair for parents who wish to stay overnight, private bathrooms with bath tubs, personal refrigerators, video game systems and Internet access, as well as communal areas – an activity center, AYA room and family room that features a warming kitchen and library – where our patients are encouraged to develop social connections.

City of Hope’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program specializes in the treatment of childhood cancers and blood disorders, including:

  • Leukemia: acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) 
  • Lymphoma: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Bone, joint and soft tissue tumors: osteosarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and soft tissue sarcomas [link to Bone & Soft Tissue Cancers tab]
  • Brain tumors: astrocytoma, medulloblastoma and retinoblastoma 
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Kidney and reproductive system tumors: Wilm’s tumor and germ cell tumors 
  • Bleeding and clotting diseases: hemophilia, Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), blood clots and platelet disorders
  • Red blood cell disorders: various forms of anemia, sickle cell disease and iron deficiency
  • Bone marrow and neutrophil disorders: aplastic anemia, storage diseases and neutropenia 
  • Hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT), bone marrow transplant and cord blood transplant
     
With the ever-increasing number of survivors of childhood cancer, we also emphasize long-term survivorship, providing continued surveillance to monitor and proactively address the long-term effects of childhood cancer. 
 

Leukemia and Lymphoma

At City of Hope, our team of pediatric experts provides comprehensive care for children with leukemia and lymphoma. Leukemia is a cancer of the blood and the most common cancer in children, accounting for approximately 40 percent of all cancer diagnoses in children. Lymphomas are cancers that develop in the body’s lymphatic system and are the third most common pediatric cancer, after leukemia and brain tumors. Our program treats patients with a range of leukemias and lymphomas, including:

Leukemias
 
  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
     
Lymphomas
 
  • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
    • Anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL)
    • B-cell lymphoma (Burkitt and Burkitt-like lymphoma)
    • Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBC)
    • Lymphoblastic lymphoma
    • T-cell lymphoma
    • MK-cell lymphoma
       
We treat newly diagnosed patients, as well as patients referred to us from other centers who come to City of Hope to continue their treatment, manage complications of treatment or develop new treatment strategies for cancers not responding to treatment, or for situations in which they have experienced a relapse. For children who fail to respond to treatment or experience a relapse, City of Hope has a renowned program in stem cell transplantation, as well as ongoing studies into novel therapies for relapsed/refractory leukemia.
 
Each type of childhood cancer is treated differently, based on what has been found to be most effective in destroying the particular type of cancer cell. The most common type of cancer treatment for leukemia and lymphoma is chemotherapy. In some cases, radiation therapy and/or stem cell transplant may be recommended. Immunotherapy, or treatment that uses certain parts of the immune system to fight cancer, may be used as well.

A unique benefit of being treated at City of Hope is that we treat young children, adolescents and young adults, ensuring a continuum of care through the years for this special group of patients. Adolescents and young adults may be eligible for clinical studies and novel treatments available for adult patients at City of Hope, while still benefitting from the patient and family-centered approach of the pediatric program.

Our program offers both outstanding medical treatment and psychosocial support to young cancer patients and their family members. Pediatric oncologists, hematologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, pathologists and other specialists work in concert to develop a targeted, effective treatment plan.  At the same time, professionals in psychology; social work; child life; recreational, occupational and physical therapy; music therapy; and school reintegration provide individual attention and group activities for patients and their families.

Meet the members of City of Hope’s pediatric leukemia and lymphoma team:
 
The majority of children diagnosed with leukemia or lymphoma are cured; however, there can be long-term side effects. Our Center for Cancer Survivorship clinic is specially designed to meet the follow-up needs of childhood cancer survivors, who are evaluated annually by a team of health care professionals with expertise in survivorship issues.
 
Your child may have the opportunity to participate in a research study or clinical trial through our participation in the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) and our designation as one of only 41 National Cancer Institute (NCI) Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the U.S. More information about our pediatric cancer research, including ongoing clinical trials, is available on City of Hope’s Clinical Trials Online website.
 

Bone & Soft Tissue Cancer (Sarcoma)

Every day, City of Hope treats patients of all ages – children, adolescents and adults – who are referred to us by physicians from California and throughout the U.S.
 
Children with musculoskeletal cancers find more than hope here. They and their families find expedited diagnosis and rapid treatment that begins in hours or days, not weeks. Because musculoskeletal cancers can be especially aggressive and fast-growing, our team of specialists and clinicians collaborate efficiently on the best course of treatment for each patient.
 
Treatment for these bone and soft tissue cancers combines chemotherapy and other drugs with surgery and radiation. City of Hope researchers pioneered the use of hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) as a treatment option for patients with advanced sarcoma, and a current study involves the use of new imaging techniques, novel radiation oncology techniques and HCT. Our approach integrates powerful new anti-cancer drugs with alternative therapies in an effort to spare patients’ limbs. We are successful in this effort in 85 percent of our cases.

We are one of the few centers in the nation that perform limb-sparing reconstruction using expandable prosthetic implants for children and adolescents. These prostheses “grow” with patients as they are expanded using noninvasive or minimally invasive techniques. This allows us to accommodate for your child’s continued growth without multiple major surgeries. Using these devices, we are able to remove bone cancer and save limbs, while at the same time reducing the number of surgeries and improving recovery time.
 
As part of the Pediatric Musculoskeletal Cancer and Sarcoma Program, care is provided by a multidisciplinary team of surgical oncologists, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists who work together with pathologists, radiologists, rehabilitation experts and others to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients. To help patients and families adjust during treatment and rehabilitation, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and child life specialists provide psychosocial support. Our team includes:

Judith K. Sato, M.D., director
George T. Calvert, M.D.
Dominic Femino, M.D.
James S. Miser, M.D.
Helen Mormann, F.N.P.
Margarita Munoz, PA-C
Amy Tafel, M.S.W.

A unique benefit of being treated at City of Hope is that we treat patients of all ages in our musculoskeletal program. If your child relapses or requires continued treatment or follow-up into adulthood, your family can stay with a team you know and trust, providing greater continuity of care.

As one of a handful of institutes to attain the elite designation of  Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), City of Hope is acknowledged as a leader in cancer research and treatment. Here, your child has access to innovative clinical trials, researchers and physicians who are nationally recognized experts in developing novel methods for preventing, detecting and treating soft tissue sarcoma and bone cancer. We are actively developing tomorrow’s treatments today, and our musculoskeletal investigators are collaborating with other scientists in other disciplines to develop promising new treatments.
 
For more information about our musculoskeletal treatments and research, visit our Musculoskeletal Cancer and Sarcoma Program website.
 

Pediatric Brain and Spinal Tumors

City of Hope offers comprehensive, family-centered, leading -edge treatment for children, adolescents and young adults (AYA) with malignant and benign tumors of the brain and spinal cord.

For nearly two decades, City of Hope has provided life-saving treatments by bringing basic laboratory research to the patient’s bedside. Gene therapy and stem cell therapy trials are being developed by City of Hope researchers to treat some of the deadliest forms of brain cancer. City of Hope is also a member of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), which provides access to the nation’s largest group of pediatric and adolescent clinical trials. In addition, our team of neurosurgeons offers world-class neurosurgical techniques for tumors of both brain and spine. City of Hope was also the first hospital in Southern California to provide Helical TomoTherapy, which dramatically decreases the side effects of radiation treatment.
 
Our board-certified experts in pediatric oncology, radiation therapy and neurosurgery provide treatment for a wide variety of brain and spine tumors including:

  • Glioblastoma multiformae
  • Medulloblastoma/primitive neuroectodermal tumor
  • Brain stem glioma
  • Astrocytoma
  • Retinoblastoma
  • Ependymoma
  • Optic glioma
  • Germ cell tumors of the brain and spine
  • Rare brain tumors
  • Childhood and young adult tumors that have metastasized to the brain
     
Patients with brain and spinal tumors require a team of professionals to provide comprehensive and family-centered care. The City of Hope team includes social workers; child-life specialists; recreation, occupational and physical rehabilitation specialists; school reintegration specialists; nutritionists; psychologists; neuropsychologists; and spiritual-care specialists.

Members of our team:
 
In addition to the best medical care available, City of Hope also provides patients and their families access to several programs that include:
 
  • The Biller Patient and Family Resource Center
  • Unique support programs for adolescents and young adults (AYA) to assist with the often difficult transition into adulthood at the time of illness
  • Late effects/survivor clinic follows patients long after their treatment to identify, treat and counsel for any issue that can arise related to their life-saving treatment
     
City of Hope physicians are leading research to find better treatments for children, adolescents and young adults with brain and spinal tumors. For more information on our pediatric cancer research, including ongoing trials, visit City of Hope’s Clinical Trials Online website.
 

Neuroblastoma, Wilm's Tumors and other Pediatric Cancers

The Pediatric Oncology Program at City of Hope offers comprehensive, family-centered, leading-edge treatment for childhood, adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients with neuroblastoma, Wilms Tumor and a wide variety of other benign and malignant solid tumors that require expert care to offer the best chance of cure.

Neuroblastoma
Neuroblastoma, a cancer that develops in immature nerve cells, represents a diagnostic and treatment dilemma that requires expert understanding of the tumor’s biology. At City of Hope, our ground-breaking work in both laboratory science and patient care gives us the experience to determine whether the individual diagnosis calls for observation or for the most aggressive approach.
 
City of Hope is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), which provides access to the nation’s largest group of pediatric and adolescent clinical trials for neuroblastoma with treatments that include chemotherapy, autologous hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT), retinoic acid therapy and antibody therapy (anti-Ch14.18) for aggressive neuroblastoma. City of Hope scientists are working on several research initiatives to develop new therapies for neuroblastoma. Pediatric team members are collaborating on research efforts to bring these therapies to clinical practice.

Wilm's Tumor
Wilm’s tumor is a cancer of the kidney that is curable in most diagnosed children, with a survival rate of more than 90 percent. Usually only surgery and chemotherapy are needed to successfully treat Wilm’s tumor, but in difficult cases, more aggressive treatment, including radiation therapy, may be required. Our long-standing expertise in autologous hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) enables aggressive treatment in patients with very advanced disease.
 
City of Hope is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), which provides access to the nation’s largest group of pediatric and adolescent clinical trials for Wilms tumor.

Other Solid Tumors
Children, adolescents and young adults can have many other types of tumors. As a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, City of Hope is prepared to deliver the best care available with its experienced pediatric oncology team. City of Hope is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), which provides access to the nation’s largest group of pediatric and adolescent clinical trials for the variety of cancers seen in children, adolescents and young adults. City of Hope offers expert treatment for the following diseases:
 
  • Germ cell tumors
  • Testicular or ovarian tumors
  • Thyroid cancer*
  • Melanoma
  • Carcinoma of head/neck, including larynx or tongue
  • Rare tumors of children, adolescents and young adults
     
*City of Hope is one of an elite few centers in Southern California offering comprehensive care with collaboration between endocrinology and pediatric oncology.
 
Neuroblastoma, Wilm’s tumor and the other tumors seen in children, adolescents and young adults require a team of experienced professionals to provide comprehensive and family-centered care.  At City of Hope, our pediatric team specializes in the treatment of children, adolescents and young adults from birth to 30 years of age. The team includes social workers; child life specialists; recreation, occupational and physical rehabilitation therapists; school reintegration specialists; nutritionists; psychologists; neuropsychologists; and spiritual care specialists.

Meet our team:
 
In addition to the best medical care available, we also provide access to several support programs, including:
 
  • The  Biller Patient and Family Resource Center
  • Unique support programs for adolescents and young adults (AYA) to assist with the often difficult transition into adulthood at the time of illness
  • Late effects/survivor clinic works with patients long after their treatment to identify, treat and counsel for any issue that might arise related to their life-saving treatment

Our physicians are leading research to find better treatments for children, adolescents and young adults with these tumors. For more information on our pediatric research, including ongoing clinical trials, visit City of Hope’s Clinical Trials Online website.
 

Bone Marrow Transplant (HCT) Program

The Pediatric Hematopoietic Cell Transplant (HCT) Program at City of Hope is part of one of the world’s largest and most successful transplant centers.  In 2011, the program celebrated its 10,000th bone marrow transplant.
 
Our pediatric physicians are board-certified experts in pediatric hematology/oncology, bringing a wealth of knowledge and compassion to patient care. The program is led by researchers renowned for their efforts in finding cures for children, adolescents and young adults with a wide spectrum of pediatric cancers and blood diseases, including:
 
  • Leukemias, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
  • Lymphomas – Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Ewing’s sarcoma
  • Bone marrow failure, aplastic anemia and paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH)
  • Diamond blackfan anemia
  • Dyskeratosis congenita
  • Fanconi’s anemia
  • Germ cell tumors
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Sickle cell/thalassemia
 
Bone marrow transplants are performed when a patient’s bone marrow, which makes blood cells, either is not functioning properly or has been destroyed by chemotherapy or radiation. We frequently perform allogeneic transplants, in which a patient’s bone marrow is replaced with stem cells from a related donor such as a sibling, an unrelated donor, umbilical cord blood or a half-matched related donor. We also perform autologous transplants, which use the patient’s own stem cells.
 
The Pediatric Hematopoietic Cell Transplant Program at City of Hope provides comprehensive, family-centered treatment for our patients up to the age of 30. Our caring medical team will devise the best individualized treatment plan for your child. We understand every patient is unique and our aim is to support the patient, siblings and parents in the most personalized manner possible.
 
We participate in the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium, and Blood and Marrow Clinical Trials Network research protocols, as well as the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research and National Marrow Donor Program. These collaborations continue to advance our progress through research and innovation. We are also accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) and benefit from the world-renowned programs here at City of Hope, including our expert matched unrelated donor search team and stem cell processing center.
 
As a patient at City of Hope, you and your child have access to:
 
  • State-of-the-art research performed on our campus in close collaboration between researchers and the medical team, providing access to innovative studies
  • The Biller Patient and Family Resource Center
  • Support programs for adolescents and young adults (AYA), assisting with the often difficult transition into adulthood at the time of illness
  • Late effects/survivor clinic follows patients long after their transplant and addresses any needs related to their lifesaving treatment
     
We take a multidisciplinary team approach to transplant. We have specialized social workers, psychologists, child life specialists, recreation and physical therapists, school reintegration specialists and nutritionists to assist our medical team, which includes [link to profiles for each person]:
 
Anna Pawlowska, M.D., director
Saro Armenian, M.D.
Nicole Karras, M.D.
Theresa Harned, M.D.
Joseph Rosenthal, M.D.
Julie Wolfson, M.D.
Alison Bell, C.P.N.P.
Lisa Gutierrez, P.N.P.
Debbie Toomey, P.N.P.
Debbie Hitt, R.N.
Cheryl Cervantes, R.N.
Denise LaBossiere, R.N.
 
For more information on our pediatric cancer research, including ongoing clinical trials, visit City of Hope’s Clinical Trials Online website.
 

Hemophilia & Sickle Cell

The Hemophilia and Sickle Cell Program at City of Hope provides care to children, adolescents and young adults (AYA) with inherited coagulation disorders, such as hemophilia and red blood cell disorders like sickle cell anemia. We are a regional referral center for these disorders and provide support to hospitals and physicians locally, nationally and internationally.

Our hemophilia and sickle cell program has earned Center of Excellence designations from California Children’s Services, and we are one of approximately 145 federally funded comprehensive Hemophilia Treatment Centers (HTCs) in the U.S. We bring together a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals experienced in treating children with inherited coagulation disorders and red blood cell disorders. We provide comprehensive care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults with:
 
  • Hemophilia and Von Willebrand disease
  • Platelet abnormalities, including idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), other thrombocytopenias and platelet dysfunction
  • Disorders of hemostasis and thrombosis
  • Red blood cell abnormalities, including sickle cell anemia and iron deficiency
  • Non-malignant hematologic disorders
  • Bone marrow and neutrophil disorders, including aplastic anemia, storage diseases and neutropenia
     
For patients with hemophilia and other inherited coagulation disorders, we provide consultations to hematologists and oncologists, pediatricians, pediatric surgeons, dentists and ob/gyns. Our areas of expertise include:
 
  • Inhibitors in hemophilia A and B
  • Risk factors for and prevention of inhibitor formation
  • Early diagnosis of inhibitors
  • Treatment of bleeding in patients with inhibitors
  • Prophylaxis to prevent bleeding and preserve joint health
  • Inhibitor eradication using Immune Tolerance Induction (ITI)
     
For patients with sickle cell disease and other red blood cell disorders, our emphasis is on preventing disease-related and treatment-related complications. We work to ensure that pain is adequately managed so that patients can maintain a good quality of life. We also work closely with the City of Hope Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Program.
 
Given the hereditary nature of these conditions, we offer genetic testing, including carrier testing and counseling. We meet with the family after diagnosis to discuss the chances of having other children with a blood disorder, and we educate children in an age-appropriate manner.

Our program offers both medical treatment and psychosocial support to young patients and their family members. Our medical team collaborates to develop an effective, individualized treatment plan, while professionals in nursing; psychology; social work; physical, occupational and recreational therapy; and school re-integration provide individual attention and group activities for patients and their families.
 
The pediatric comprehensive care team for the hemophilia and the sickle cell programs includes:

Our physicians and scientists are leading research to find better treatments for patients with inherited blood disorders. For more information on our pediatric hematology research, including ongoing clinical trials, visit City of Hope’s Clinical Trials Online website.
 

Adolescents & Young Adults (AYA)

At City of Hope, we know that adolescents and young adults (AYA) have unique needs.. That's why we offer medical care, psychosocial support and resources designed to help patients like you navigate from diagnosis to treatment to survivorship.
 
Treatments for younger children and older adults are not always appropriate for adolescents and young adults. We offer AYA-specific medical care that is designed to treat cancer aggressively while minimizing the long-term effects. At City of Hope, you will have access to:
 
  • The most current cancer therapies and treatments
  • AYA inpatient lounge
  • Outpatient treatments to minimize hospital stays
  • Clinical trials
  • Fertility preservation referrals
 
As an AYA, you’re probably concerned about how your cancer diagnosis and treatment will impact your body as well as important aspects of your life, such as relationships, finances and school or career. To help you live as normally as possible, we provide counseling, psychological services and support groups, including:
 
  • An educational group for adolescents and young adults on undergoing therapy
  • A recreational therapy group for inpatient adolescents and young adults
  • AYA social events
  • Fertility preservation referrals
     
The City of Hope AYA medical team is actively involved in day-to-day patient care as well as research to test new treatments, improve outcomes and enhance survivorship for AYA patients.  At the same time, the psychosocial team, which includes psychologists, social workers and child life specialists, are available to answer your questions and provide support tailored to your unique situation. The team includes:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


With a patient population that spans all ages, City of Hope is uniquely positioned to treat you from diagnosis through adulthood, enabling you to stay with the same team and at a hospital you know and trust.
 

Survivorship

The Childhood Cancer Survivorship Program at City of Hope provides specialized follow-up care for patients who have completed treatment for cancer or a similar illness that was diagnosed at age 21 or younger.  Patients who participate in this program are seen every year in a clinic specially designed to meet the needs of childhood cancer survivors.  Patients are evaluated by a team of health care professionals who are experts in survivorship issues, including a physician or nurse practitioner, a dietitian, and a psychologist or social worker.

Patients in this program will receive careful monitoring for possible health problems that can sometimes occur after cancer treatment. They will also have the opportunity to talk with the Survivorship Program team about the treatment that they received for cancer, its potential impact on their health, and ways to stay as healthy as possible. 
 
Each patient will receive a personalized record of the details of their cancer treatment. They will also be provided guidelines for continued monitoring, including recommendations for preventive care and information about available resources and services.  The goal is to help each survivor stay healthy and to prevent any subsequent problems or detect them as early as possible so they can be more easily treated.

This program is carried out in collaboration with each patient’s primary health care and treatment team and is part of the research program here at City of Hope.
 
The Childhood Cancer Survivorship Program team includes:
 
 
For more information on the Childhood Cancer Survivorship Program at City of Hope, visit the Center for Cancer Survivorship.
 

Pediatric Cancers Team

Support This Program

It takes the help of a lot of caring people to make hope a reality for our patients. City of Hope was founded by individuals' philanthropic efforts 100 years ago. Their efforts − and those of our supporters today − have built the foundation for the care we provide and the research we conduct. It enables us to strive for new breakthroughs and better therapies − helping more people enjoy longer, better lives.

For more information on supporting this specific program, please contact us below.

Kimberly Wah
Director
Phone: 213-241-7275
Email: kwah@coh.org

 
 
Physicians in the United States and throughout the world are welcome to refer patients to City of Hope.

There are a number of options you can choose from to refer a patient:

  • Call 800-826-HOPE (4673) to speak with a patient referral specialist.
  • Fax the patient face sheet to 626-301-8432
  • Complete an online callback request form
 
City of Hope Locations

City of Hope’s School Program helps children, teen, and young adult patients continue their education while undergoing treatment. For more information, please contact Kayla Fulginiti, M.S.W., School Program Coordinator at 626-256-4673, ext. 62282.
The Childhood Cancer Survivorship Program at City of Hope provides specialized follow-up care for patients who have completed treatment for a cancer that was diagnosed before they were 22 years old.
For the 11th year, U.S.News & World Report has named City of Hope one of the top cancer hospitals in the country.
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