Your Child's Cancer Journey

At CHOC Children’s, we understand that cancer treatment can be scary and feel unpredictable. That’s why we work with your family to make sure that you never feel alone or confused while undergoing treatment. Our staff works hard to create an environment that feels like a home away from home and strives to provide convenient, compassionate, child friendly services–both inpatient and outpatient–every step of the way.

We welcome families to tour the Cancer Institute so that they can ask questions and meet staff members. Our child life department conducts special tours that allow patients to learn about the hospital and see the rooms and equipment used by our staff.

In the Beginning

At your child’s initial appointment, you will be seen by one of our pediatric oncology specialists and may undergo several individualized diagnostic tests to help our specialists make or confirm a diagnosis. Once all test and lab results are compiled, a multidisciplinary team of pathologists, radiologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, your child’s primary oncologist and the oncology case coordinator meet to discuss you child’s case and to determine the best course of treatment.

We believe that the referring physician is an important member of the treatment team and vital to the patient’s long-term care. Once a diagnosis and course of treatment are established, CHOC specialists work closely with your child’s referring physician to ensure that there is coordination of care as well as close communication.

 A Guiding Hand from our Case Coordinators

We understand that navigating cancer treatment may seem like a daunting task. All new patients are immediately paired with a pediatric oncology nurse coordinator who serves as an advocate for your child and family throughout the your child’s course of treatment. The coordinator serves as a guide to coordinating conferences with physicians and medical staff, facilitating appointments and diagnostic tests, and ensuring seamless care between inpatient and outpatient services. The nurse case coordinator also assists during the discharge planning process as well as provides patient education and other family support as needed.

Easily Accessible Hospital Information – Anytime, Anywhere

We know you will have many questions throughout your stay at CHOC, and that you may feel overwhelmed trying to remember everything you’ve been told. Upon check-in at CHOC, you will be given an iPad to use during the course of your treatment that contains a guided tour of the people, places and activities at the Cancer Institute. The videos contain information about the hospital, our medical staff and caregivers, what you need to know about your daily routine while hospitalized, explanations about tests and procedures, and specialized programs at CHOC.

The Cancer Treatment Plan

After a diagnosis is made, family members meet with your child’s oncologist and nurse coordinator who work as a team to develop your child’s treatment plan. Treatment plans are based on a variety of factors including the type and extent of the cancer at the time of the diagnosis. The plan is provided along with an “oncology binder” that details all of the information your family will need during treatment, including the timing for inpatient and outpatient tests and treatment.

Children’s cancers are very different than adult cancers, even when they take place in a young adult patien. At CHOC, your child or teen is treated using the very latest pediatric cancer protocols. A majority of our protocols come from the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), a national organization funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The goal of COG is to improve the treatment and increase the survival and cure rates of childhood cancer. We are one of only 21 medical centers in the country to offer COG Phase I clinical trials to pediatric cancer patients. Learn more about some of the very latest treatments offered at the Cancer Institute.

Surgical Services

Surgery may be included in a pediatric cancer treatment plan. Patients at the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s have direct access to a full-range of surgical specialties, including neurosurgery, urology surgery, gynecology surgery and thoracic surgery.

All surgical services are child- and adolescent-centered, with surgeons and nurses specially trained to operate on children of all ages—from newborn babies to young adults. Surgery can involve removing a tumor or taking some tissue for a biopsy. It is often used in conjunction with chemotherapy and/or radiation to help remove as much of the cancer as possible.

We are pleased to be able to provide our patients access to some of the most skilled and knowledgeable surgeons in the country at CHOC’s very own Tidwell Procedure Center. Our pediatric oncology surgeons specialize in minimally invasive surgeries using the very latest thoracoscopic, laparoscopic, neurosurgical, orthopaedic and robotic methods available. Learn more about the Tidwell Procedure Center.

Helpful Information for Patients and Families

Resources for Caregivers


Frequently Asked Questions About Cancer


Cancer Treatment Programs