New Childhood Cancer Prevention and Screening Clinic announced at Texas Children's Cancer Center

HOUSTON - (Jan. 21, 2013) - Texas Children's Cancer Center announced a new, first of its kind, Childhood Cancer Prevention and Screening Clinic which will screen and follow children who are at an elevated risk for developing childhood cancer. This new clinic will reassure families of children with genetic conditions such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome and Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome which predispose individuals to childhood cancer, as well as children with other conditions strongly associated with pediatric cancer, such as hemihypertrophy, where one side or part of one side of the body is enlarged.

"This new clinic will allow us to centralize the cancer screening services for children who have been diagnosed with a predisposition to cancer through a medical evaluation from a geneticist or another physician experienced with these conditions," said Dr. Surya Rednam, pediatric oncologist at Texas Children's Cancer Center and director of the new clinic. "Using cancer screening methods based on the latest medical evidence and tailored to the needs of each child, we can identify tumors sooner in these children, allowing for treatments to be implemented earlier, ultimately leading to improved survival rates," said Rednam, who is also an instructor in pediatric hematology/oncology at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM).

Detecting tumors earlier may also allow for less intensive treatments. For example, with earlier detection, a less aggressive surgery may be performed or the dose of radiation may be decreased or even avoided entirely, which would lessen treatment-related chronic health issues.

The new clinic is part of Texas Children's Cancer Center's Genetics Program. Most patients will first be seen by the Cancer Genetics Clinic team to be evaluated for genetic risk factors. Those children found to be at an increased risk of developing childhood cancer will then be followed long-term in the new clinic, using screening guidelines developed for their specific cancer risks. Since opening, this clinic has seen 30 patients who were identified as having an increased risk for childhood cancer.

Among children who may be at a high risk for tumors and cancers are current pediatric cancer patients with a genetic condition, siblings of pediatric cancer patients and children with other family histories of cancer. Families who fall into one of these categories who are interested in having their child seen by the Cancer Genetics Clinic and the Childhood Cancer Prevention and Screening Clinic are encouraged to visit their pediatrician for a referral.

"Over time, the data collected by centralizing the care of these patients will allow us to better assess the effectiveness of our current screening methods in detecting cancer and improving patient outcomes," said Rednam. "Additionally, as new tests and technologies are developed, this clinic will enable us to compare the currently recommended screenings with newer methods so we are constantly striving to ensure that our patients receive the most up-to-date and effective cancer screening services available."

Texas Children's Cancer Center is a joint program of Texas Children's Hospital and BCM, and is the pediatric program of BCM's NCI-designated Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center. Learn more about Texas Children's Cancer Center.

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Center for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, a second community hospital planned to open in 2017. The organization also created the nation’s first HMO for children, has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.