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Suspicion of Cancer Program

Conquest - Summer 2009

Immediate Help From Pediatric Cancer Experts

By Sara Farris

A young teenager visits his doctor when a nagging pain in his arm turns worse after a sports injury. His doctor decides to take some X-rays to pinpoint the cause and finds a suspicious mass on the film. He doesn’t want to alarm the patient or family about what this mass could be, especially since cancer is rare in teenagers. Before discussing a potential diagnosis with the family, the doctor picks up the phone.

Hoglund Pedi-Dome at the
Children's Cancer Hospital

It’s a situation like this that inspired the Children’s Cancer Hospital at M. D. Anderson to create the Suspicion of Cancer Program. For physicians who rarely see a case of childhood cancer, this program provides a way for them to consult with experienced pediatric oncologists about their patients. They just have to dial a dedicated phone line that provides access 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“The questions vary from very general to very specific,” says Bill Walker, director of administration and operations at the Children’s Cancer Hospital. “For example, a physician might want to discuss a patient’s symptoms, get help in deciding which diagnostic test is appropriate, or inquire about findings on previous tests. Whatever the concern, the physician does not have to wait until the next day or for the call to be returned — he or she will have an answer right away.”

A child may be seen either the same day or the next day for diagnostic consultation and help with treatment planning if desired.

“We consider this program a partnership through which we not only contribute to a patient’s early diagnosis and make relevant treatment recommendations, but we also share our knowledge about cancer with community-based physicians,” says Eugenie Kleinerman, M.D., professor and head of the Children’s Cancer Hospital.

For information on the Children’s Cancer Hospital’s Suspicion of Cancer Program, call 1-888-KIDCHEK (1-888-543-2435).


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center