Pediatric Cancer

MaineHealth has dedicated doctors who provide expertise and compassion in caring for children with cancer. We know you want the best for your children. We do, too. Families can rely on the specialists at Maine Children’s Cancer Program for care and services that meet the unique needs of young patients diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders.

Working in teams, pediatric doctors and expert nurses have specialized training and skills in childhood cancers and blood diseases. Social workers and research associates also are part of your child’s care team. The team works with your family healthcare provider to coordinate care.

What is pediatric cancer?

Cancer starts when normal cells in the body change and grow out of control. These cells can form a mass called a tumor. A tumor may be malignant or benign (not harmful). Pediatric cancer is rare. It can occur anywhere in the body, including the blood and lymph node system, brain and central nervous system (CNS), and kidneys. Most of the time, there is no known cause for childhood cancers. Childhood cancers may act very differently from adult cancers, even if they start in the same part of the body.

 Pediatric cancers include:

  • Leukemia

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)

  • Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)

  • Brain tumor

  • Germ cell tumor

  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma

  • Kidney cancer

  • Liver cancer

  • Neuroblastoma

  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

  • Retinoblastoma

  • Sarcoma

Diagnosing pediatric cancer

If your doctor thinks your child may have a cancer, your child may be sent to a pediatric cancer specialist. The specialist will order tests which may include:

  • CT scan
  • X-ray
  • MRI scan
  • Blood tests
  • Biopsy (removing part of lump or sampling it with a small needle to look for cancer cells)

Treating pediatric cancer

Your child's doctor will choose the best treatment based on your child’s age, the type of cancer and how severe it is. Treatment options include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Surgery

The Maine Children's Cancer Program offers:

  • Extensive expertise: The medical team at the Maine Children’s Cancer Program has the skill and expertise to care for young patients with a cancer diagnosis.

  • Advanced technology: The Maine Children’s Cancer Program has state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and treatments for early detection and personalized treatments.

  • Strong research program: The Maine Children’s Cancer Program is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group, a leading pediatric research organization. Young patients have access to the newest cancer therapies.

Learn more about the Maine Children’s Cancer Program here:

Primary care is your first stop for care

Whether you choose a pediatrician for the kids and an internal medicine doc for the adults -- or opt for a family medicine doctor for the entire family -- MaineHealth has the primary care providers to meet your needs.