Cancer & Blood Disorders Conditions This is a sample of some of the common conditions we treat at the Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders AnemiaAnemia occurs when a person’s blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells in it. Red blood cells carry hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen throughout the body. Without enough red blood cells, the body’s organs don’t receive enough oxygen, and can’t work normally. There are multiple types of anemia, depending on the cause. What are the signs and symptoms of anemia? Different types of anemias have different symptoms. Some people may not have any symptoms at all. Others may experience some of the following: Feeling tired Weakness Moodiness Pale or yellowish skin Irregular heartbeat Shortness of breath Dizziness or lightheadedness Chest pain Cold hands and feet Headaches Young children with iron-deficiency anemia may also have developmental delays or behavioral difficulties What causes anemia? There are multiple types of anemia, depending on the cause. Anemias from when red blood cells are broken down too fast, called hemolytic anemias Autoimmune hemolytic anemia: When the body’s immune system destroys its own red blood cells Inherited hemolytic anemias: These include sickle cell disease, thalassemia, G6PD deficiency, and hereditary spherocytosis Anemias from red blood cells being made too slowly Aplastic anemia: When the body stops making red blood cells due to an infection, illness, or other cause Iron-deficiency anemia: When someone doesn’t have enough iron in their diet Anemia B12 deficiency: When someone doesn’t get enough B12 in their diet or the body can’t absorb the B12 Anemia from bleeding Can be due to bleeding from an injury, heavy menstrual periods, the gastrointestinal tract, or another medical issue How is anemia treated? Doctors at Connecticut Children’s can determine the right plan if your child requires treatment for anemia. Depending on the cause, anemia may be treated with medication, changes in diet, treatment of another underlying disease. At Connecticut Children’s, our hematologists specialize in pediatric blood disorders and will partner with your family for expert care. Bone Marrow FailureBone marrow is the soft spongy center of bones, where all blood cells are produced. That includes red blood cells (which carry oxygen throughout the body), white blood cells (which fight infection), and platelets (which help blood to clot). When the bone marrow doesn’t produce enough healthy blood cells to keep up with the body’s needs, it’s called bone marrow failure. What are the signs and symptoms of bone marrow failure? Many children with bone marrow failure do not feel sick, and their condition is only discovered when a doctor orders blood counts for a different reason. In other children, symptoms may include: Tired, sleepy or dizzy Headaches Pale skin Easy bruising or bleeding Bleeding more than normal Frequent or unusual infections Unexplained fevers Mouth sores Tiny dots on the skin (petechiae) What causes bone marrow failure? Bone marrow failure can be genetic, meaning that it was inherited from a family member and is present at birth. Genetic causes include: Fanconi anemia Dyskeratosis congenital Diamond Blackfan anemia Shwachman Diamond syndrome GATA2-related disorders SAMD9/SAMD9L-related disorders Bone marrow failure can also develop later in life, usually due to another disorder. Aplastic anemia: The most common cause of acquired bone marrow failure, which occurs when the body cannot make enough red, white or platelet blood cells Myelodysplastoics syndromes (MDS): Rare type of blood cancer How is bone marrow failure treated? Doctors at Connecticut Children’s can determine the right plan if your child requires treatment for a bone marrow failure. Our pediatric experts will meet with the patient and patient’s family to determine the best course of treatment. Depending on the type of bone marrow failure, we may recommend blood transfusions, injections of platelets, or stem cell transplant. Bleeding DisordersBleeding disorders affect the body’s ability to form a proper blood clot. When someone is injured, their blood usually forms a clot that seals the damaged area and stops the bleeding. This is a complicated process, involving blood cells, platelets and 13 different clotting factors (proteins). When something goes wrong, it’s called a bleeding disorder. Some bleeding disorders include: Anemia Bone marrow failure syndromes Hemophilia Platelet disorders Sickle cell disease Thalassemia Thrombotic disorders von Willebrand disease What are the signs and symptoms of a bleeding disorder? Symptoms of a bleeding disorder include: Bleeding into joints, muscles and soft tissues Bruising Prolonged, heavy menstrual periods (menorrhagia) Nosebleeds Bleeding more than normal with minor cuts, blood draws, vaccinations, minor surgery or dental procedures What causes a bleeding disorder? Some bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia, can be passed down from a parent. Others can come from conditions such as anemia, leukemia, HIV, and vitamin K deficiency. They can also result from certain medications that thin the blood such as aspirin, heparin and warfarin. How are bleeding disorders treated? Treatment for bleeding disorders vary depending on the condition and severity. Doctors at Connecticut Children’s can determine the right plan if your child requires treatment for a bleeding disorder. Our Adolescent Bleeding & Clotting Disorders Clinic can treat young women through hormonal therapy (birth control), insertion of an IUD, transfusions or hemostatic therapy. Our Hemostasis & Thrombosis Program treats patients with hemophilia, von Willebrand Disease, rare factor deficiencies, platelet disorders, or blood clots (deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism). Our team works together to create a coordinated care plan that may include medications, genetic counseling, pain medicine, and physical therapy. Connecticut Children’s also offers chronic transfusion therapy for children who require red blood cell replacement. Why Connecticut Children’s? Connecticut Children’s experts from many specialties work together to provide specialized care – from diagnosis through treatment and follow-up care. In a child-friendly environment, we offer chronic transfusion therapy for children who require red blood cell replacement. Our cutting-edge treatments, extensive family education and support services encourage independence and a high quality of life. Bone TumorsWhen cells divide abnormally and uncontrollably, they can form a mass or lump of tissue called a tumor. Bone tumors occur when a tumor forms in a bone. As the tumor grows, the abnormal tissue replaces the healthy tissue. There are two types of bone tumors: benign (not cancerous) and malignant (cancerous). Benign tumors are slow-growing, noncancerous, and do not spread to surrounding tissues. They are often diagnosed following a minor trauma, bone break or history of pain. Treatment options vary depending on the size, type and location of the benign bone tumors, but surgery will generally treat these tumors. Types of benign tumors: Osteochondromas Nonossifying fibroma unicameral Giant cell tumors Enchondroma Fibrous dysplasia Aneurysmal bone cyst A malignant (cancerous) tumor can grow unchecked, invade healthy tissue and spread to other parts of the body (metastasize). If it goes untreated and continues to spread, it can interfere with organ function and become life-threatening. Types of malignant bone tumors: Osteosarcoma Ewing sarcoma family of tumors (ESFTs) Chondrosarcoma What are the signs and symptoms of a bone tumor? The most common symptom of a bone tumor is a dull ache in the affected bone. The pain may start as occasional and become more serious, even waking the patient at night. Because tumors may weaken a bone, sometimes the bone might break in what may seem like an insignificant injury. This is called a pathologic fracture. Other symptoms may include: Swelling near the tumor A new mass of tissue Night sweats or fevers What causes bone tumors? There isn’t a clear cause for most bone tumors. A small number may be linked to genetics, radiation treatment and injuries to the bones. How are bone tumors treated? Doctors at Connecticut Children’s can determine the right plan if your child requires treatment for a bone tumor. Some benign tumors, such as an osteochondroma, may not require any treatment. We may decide to watch the tumor over time with periodic follow-up X-rays. In some cases, we may recommend surgery to remove the benign tumor because they can sometimes spread or transform into malignant tumors. Treatment for malignant tumors depends on the type of cancer and how far it has progressed. If the cancer is limited to one area and hasn’t spread, the tumor may be removed through surgery. Other common treatments include chemotherapy, which kills cancer cells throughout the body, and radiation therapy, which kills cancer cells in a specific area of the body. Treatment for malignant tumors also includes extensive family and child support from our team at Connecticut Children’s. Brain TumorsWhen brain cells grow abnormally or out of control, a tumor (a mass of cells) can form. If the tumor puts pressure on certain areas of the brain, it can affect how the body functions. When discovered early enough, brain tumors are usually treatable. Many that are slow-growing are cured with surgery alone. Other types that are faster-growing might need additional treatment with radiation therapy or chemotherapy, or both. There are many different types of brain tumors. Some are cancerous (meaning they can spread to parts of the body outside the brain), and others aren’t. Doctors categorize a tumor based on its location, the type of cells involved, and how quickly it grows. What are the signs and symptoms of a brain tumor? A brain tumor can cause symptoms by directly pressing on the surrounding parts of the brain that control certain body functions, or by causing a buildup of spinal fluid and pressure throughout the brain (a condition known as hydrocephalus). Signs or symptoms depend on a child’s age and the location of the tumor, but may include: Vomiting Seizures Weakness of the face, trunk, arms, or legs Slurred speech Difficulty standing or walking Poor coordination Headache In babies and young toddlers, a rapidly enlarging head Since symptoms might develop gradually and can be like those of other common childhood conditions, brain tumors can be difficult to diagnose. If you ever have concerns about symptoms your child is having, talk with your child’s doctor right away. What causes brain tumors? Doctors don’t know what causes brain tumors, but researchers think there may be genetic and environmental causes. Some kids who have certain genetic conditions have a greater chance of developing brain tumors. That includes diseases like neurofibromatosis, von Hippel-Lindau disease, and Li-Fraumeni syndrome. How are brain tumors treated? Doctors at Connecticut Children’s can determine the right plan if your child requires treatment for a brain tumor. Treating a child with a brain tumor will usually include a combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Our collaborative team of pediatric experts creates a specialized treatment plan for each patient. This team includes our pediatric oncologists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, child life specialists, pediatric psychologists, social workers and pediatric rehabilitation medicine specialists including speech, physical, and occupational therapists. Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is a blood disorder where the platelets in the blood decrease in number. Platelets are cells that help blood to clot, meaning they help to stop bleeding. Not having enough platelets can lead to easy bruising, bleeding gums and internal bleeding. This disorder is caused by an immune reaction against one’s own platelets. It is also called autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura. There are two types of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura: Acute thrombocytopenic purpura: This type affects young children and usually follows a viral illness such as chicken pox. Symptoms start suddenly and usually disappear within a few weeks to a few months. Chronic thrombocytopenic purpura: Symptoms can last a minimum of six months, several years, or a lifetime. Adults have this type more often than children, but it does affect adolescents. Females have it more often than males. It can recur often and requires continual follow-up care with a blood specialist (hematologist). What are the signs and symptoms of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura? Some people may not experience any symptoms from idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. Others may experience some of the following: Easy or excessive bruising Petechiae: Bleeding into the skin that appears as tiny reddish-purple spots that look like a rash, usually on lower legs Bleeding from gums or nose Blood in urine or stool Unusually heavy menstrual flow What causes idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura? In idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, the immune system attacks its own platelets. Sometimes, there’s no known cause. A few known causes include: Certain medications Certain infections, usually viral infections Pregnancy Immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus Low-grade lymphomas and leukemias How is idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura treated? Doctors at Connecticut Children’s can determine the right plan if your child requires treatment for a idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. If there are no signs of bleeding and the platelet count isn’t too low, treatment might not be needed. If symptoms are more severe, treatment could include medications to boost the platelet count or surgery to remove the spleen. Kidney TumorsKidney tumors, also called renal tumors, are growths in the kidneys that can be benign or cancerous. The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs about the size of a fist in the abdomen. They remove waste and extra water from the blood and help keep chemicals such as sodium, potassium and calcium balanced in the body. Kidneys also make hormones that help control blood pressure and stimulate bone marrow to make red blood cells. Benign kidney tumors are slow-growing, noncancerous, and do not spread to surrounding tissues. Some benign kidney tumors include: Renal adema Renal oncoctoma Angiomyolipoma Fibroma Lipoma A cancerous (malignant) kidney tumor can grow unchecked, invade healthy tissue and spread to other parts of the body. If it goes untreated, it can interfere with other organs and become life-threatening. Some cancerous kidney tumors include: Renal cell cancer Transitional cell cancer Wilms’ tumor What are the signs and symptoms of a kidney tumor? Many kidney tumors are found by chance and have no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may include: Blood in urine Pain or lump in lower back Feeling very tired Loss of appetite Unexpected weight loss Fever that isn’t caused caused by an infection that does not go away Anemia (low red blood cell count) What causes kidney tumors? Doctors do not know what causes kidney tumors, but there are certain risk factors that increase the chance of malignant tumors. These risks include the following: Obesity Poor diet Family history of high blood pressure Kidney dialysis Heredity Smoking Drinking a lot of alcohol How are kidney tumors treated? Doctors at Connecticut Children’s can determine the right plan if your child requires treatment for a kidney tumor. Some patients may not need surgery, and will be closely watched by their doctor. However, surgery is generally the first step for treatment of kidney tumors. We’re experts in laparoscopic surgery, which is minimally invasive and usually an easier recovery for patients. Leukemias and LymphomasLeukemias and lymphomas are both forms of blood cancer, but they affect the body differently. Leukemia is cancer of the white blood cells. White blood cells fight infections and other diseases. In leukemia, the bone marrow, which is the spongy material inside a bone, creates many white blood cells that aren’t normal. They then crowd the bone marrow and get into the bloodstream. Unlike healthy white blood cells, they can’t protect the body from infections. Leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children. But most kids and teens treated for leukemia are cured of the disease. Lymphoma starts in lymphocytes, the types of white blood cells that are created in the bone marrow and move around the blood until they become part of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is the part of the body that fights germs and includes lymph nodes, the spleen, the thymus gland and bone marrow. When lymphoma occurs, the white blood cells turn cancerous and grow out of control, and don’t work properly with the lymphatic system. There are several different types of lymphomas. Some involve lymphoid cells and are grouped under the heading of Hodgkin lymphoma. All other forms of lymphoma fall into the non-Hodgkin lymphoma grouping. What are the signs and symptoms of leukemias and lymphomas? Symptoms of leukemias Children with leukemia tend to get more viral or bacterial infections than other children. This is because the white blood cells can’t fight off infections. They may also get anemia, which means a low number of red blood cells. Some symptoms of anemia include feeling weak or tired, paleness, easily bruising, excessive nose bleeds and bleeding more than normal after a minor cut. Other symptoms of leukemia can include: Pain in the bones or joints, sometimes causing a limp Swollen glands (lymph nodes) in the neck, groin, or elsewhere Poor appetite and weight loss Fevers with no other symptoms Belly pain Symptoms of lymphomas Some symptoms of lymphomas may include: Swollen glands in neck, armpits or groin Feeling very tired Fever Night sweats Shortness of breath Unexplained weight loss Itchy skin What causes leukemias and lymphomas? Doctors don’t know exactly what causes leukemia and lymphomas. Most cases happen when there is a spontaneous mutation, or change, in a gene. (Spontaneous genetic mutations are not passed down from a parent.) How are leukemias and lymphomas treated? Doctors at Connecticut Children’s can determine the right plan if your child requires treatment for leukemia or lymphoma. Our pediatric oncologists create a personalized treatment plan for every patient, working closely with the patient and their family. This treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy or stem cell transplants. NeuroblastomaNeuroblastoma is a cancerous tumor that grows in the nerve tissue of young children. It forms in early nerve cells called neuroblasts. These cells normally grow into nerve cells, but in neuroblastoma, they become cancer cells instead. Neuroblastoma is the most common type of cancer in infants. Neuroblastoma most commonly starts in the tissue of the adrenal glands, the triangular glands on top of the kidneys that make hormones that control heart rate, blood pressure, and other important functions. Like other cancers, neuroblastoma can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, skin, liver, and bones. What are the signs and symptoms of neuroblastoma? Neuroblastoma usually affects young kids. Usually, it’s discovered when a doctor feels an unusual lump in the child’s body. Other symptoms depend on where the tumor started and how much the cancer has grown and spread to other parts of the body. Early symptoms may include irritability, being very tired, loss of appetite and fever. Symptoms will increase when the growing tumor presses on nearby tissues or when the cancer spreads to other areas. Later symptoms may include: Swollen stomach, abdominal pain, and decreased appetite (if the tumor is in the abdomen) Bone pain or soreness, black eyes, bruises, and pale skin (if the cancer has spread to the bones or bone marrow) Weakness, numbness, inability to move a body part, or difficulty walking (if the cancer presses on the spinal cord) Drooping eyelid, unequal pupils, sweating, and red skin, which are signs of nerve damage in the neck known as Horner’s syndrome (if the tumor is in the neck) Difficulty breathing (if the cancer is in the chest) Fever and irritability What causes neuroblastoma? Neuroblastoma happens when early nerve cells called neuroblasts grow and divide out of control instead of developing into nerve cells. Scientists don’t know exactly what causes this, but it seems linked to a problem in the genes that control the neuroblasts. How is neuroblastoma treated? Sometimes neuroblastoma disappears on its own without treatment, just watchful waiting. Sometimes it’s treated with surgery to remove the tumor, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Doctors at Connecticut Children’s can determine the right plan if your child requires treatment for neuroblastoma. Pediatric oncologists in our Solid Tumor Program come up with a personalized treatment plan for each patient, depending on the child’s age and risk level. Sickle Cell AnemiaSickle cell anemia is a blood disorder where the body doesn’t create enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen through the body. It’s a type of sickle cell disease, a group of disorders that get their name from the unusual shape they cause in red blood cells. Usually, red blood cells look like round discs. But in sickle cell diseases, they’re shaped like crescent moons, or an old farm tool known as a sickle. A round disc is the healthiest shape for red blood cells because they can move easily through the blood vessels of the body to get oxygen where it needs to go. When red blood cells are shaped like sickles, they can get stuck, especially inside smaller blood vessels. This keeps blood from flowing as it should, which can cause pain and damage to parts of the body. What are the signs and symptoms of sickle cell anemia? Children with sickle cell disease may feel pain in different parts of the body when blood vessels get clogged with sickle cells. The pain can last a few hours or several days, and pain level may vary. When this happens, it’s called a sickle cell crisis or pain crisis. Although there is no way to predict when blood vessels might get clogged, some things can trigger a sickle cell crisis – for example if someone gets sick, too cold, are under a lot of stress or they don’t drink enough liquids. Children with sickle cell disease may get tired a lot and are more prone to infections. They may not grow as fast as their friends. Sometimes the skin and whites of their eyes have a yellowish color, known as jaundice, and they may need to make frequent visits to the bathroom. What causes sickle cell anemia? Sickle cell anemia is inherited when both parents pass along the sickle cell gene to their child. How is sickle cell anemia treated? There is no cure for sickle cell anemia, but treatments can relieve pain and help prevent complications associated with the disease. Doctors at Connecticut Children’s can determine the right plan if your child requires treatment for a sickle cell anemia. Treatments may include taking penicillin (a drug that helps prevent infection), or taking a vitamin called folic acid, which helps the body make new red blood cells. Another medication called hydroxyurea can make sickled red blood cells less “sticky” and less likely to cause problems. Treatment may also include pain medications when a patient is in sickle cell crisis or blood transfusions to put healthy cells right into the patient’s body. Connecticut Children’s is one of the few centers that offer a sickle cell pulmonary clinic. The clinic is devoted to sickle cell patients and is held once every other month. Soft Tissue TumorsTumors in the soft tissue are more common than bone tumors, and they can occur almost anywhere. There are many types of soft tissue tumors. Benign soft tissue tumors are not cancerous. These tumors can’t spread to other parts of the body. Intermediate soft tissue tumors behave in ways between a cancer and non-cancer. These tumors may grow and invade nearby tissue and organs, but they don’t tend to spread to other parts of the body. Soft tissue sarcomas are cancerous (malignant). They can develop in soft tissues like fat, muscle, nerves, fibrous tissues, blood vessels, or deep skin tissues. They can be found in any part of the body. The most common type of soft tissue cancer in children is Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS or “rhabdo”). Cells from rhabdomyosarcomas are often fast growing and can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Treatments usually include chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. What are the signs and symptoms of soft tissue tumors? Symptoms of benign soft tissue tumors vary. If a tumor is close to the surface of the body, a lump may appear. Some tumors cause pain while others don’t. Soft tissue sarcomas may not cause any symptoms at first. As the tumor grows it may cause a noticeable lump or swelling. If it presses on nerves or muscles it could cause pain. What causes soft tissue tumors? Doctors don’t know exactly what causes soft tissue tumors. They’re sometimes linked to the following: Inherited (genetic) syndromes including hereditary retinoblastoma, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis, neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis and Werner syndrome Coming into contact with certain chemicals such as herbicides, arsenic and dioxin Radiation exposure for treatment for other cancers How are soft tissue tumors treated? Doctors at Connecticut Children’s can determine the right plan if your child requires treatment for a soft tissue tumor. Benign (noncancerous) tumors are not dangerous and often don’t require more than watching. When necessary, they can be removed through a surgical procedure to help protect surrounding normal blood vessels, nerves, muscle or bone. Treatment for malignant soft tissue tumors depends on the type of cancer and how far it has progressed. If the cancer is limited to one area and hasn’t spread, the tumor may be removed through surgery. Other common treatments include chemotherapy, which kills cancer cells throughout the body, and radiation therapy, which kills cancer cells in a specific area of the body. Treatment for malignant soft tissue tumors also includes extensive family and child support from our team at Connecticut Children’s. ThalassemiasThalassemias are a group of blood disorders that affect the way the body makes hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. The body contains more red blood cells than any other type of cell. Normally, each red blood cell has a life span of about four months. Each day, the body produces new red blood cells to replace those that die or are lost. But when someone has thalassemia, the red blood cells don’t have enough hemoglobin to function properly. As a result, the red blood cells are destroyed at a faster rate. When the body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells, it causes a condition called anemia. What are the signs and symptoms of thalassemias? There are several types of thalassemias, so symptoms might vary. Symptoms can include: Feeling very tired Weakness Pale or yellowish skin Facial bone deformities Slow growth Abdominal swelling Dark urine What causes thalassemias? Thalassemias are inherited conditions — they’re carried in the genes and passed on from parents to children. People who are carriers of a thalassemia gene show no thalassemia symptoms and might not know they’re carriers. If both parents are carriers, they can pass the disease to their kids. Thalassemias are not contagious. How are thalassemias treated? Doctors at Connecticut Children’s can determine the right plan if your child requires treatment for a thalassemia. Some mild cases might not need any treatment, while more severe forms might require regular blood transfusions. We may also recommend diet changes and an exercise plan. Our pediatric experts in blood disorders create a personalized treatment plan for each child. Thrombotic DisordersThrombosis is the formation of a blood clot, known as a thrombus, within a blood vessel. Blood clotting is the body’s first defense against bleeding. When someone is injured, their blood’s clotting system forms a “seal” at the damaged area to protect them from losing too much blood. Once healed, the body normally breaks down the clot. But sometimes clots don’t form properly or fail to dissolve after an injury. When a blood clot stays in the blood vessel, it is called thrombosis. This prevents the blood from flowing normally through the circulatory system. If left untreated, a thrombosis can cause long-term problems such as: Chronic swelling Pain Permanent damage to internal organs What are the signs and symptoms of thrombotic disorders? Pain and swelling in one leg Chest pain or shortness of breath Numbness on one side of the body Redness and warmth in the legs Low-grade fever In some cases, you may be able to feel the clot under the skin What causes thrombotic disorders? Thrombosis in children is uncommon and is usually seen in children with complex medical problems or whom have undergone procedures. Thrombophilia refers to anything that increases a person’s chance of developing blood clots. Certain genetic conditions can increase this risk. So can certain lifestyle or medical conditions, including: Immobility Obesity Sedentary lifestyle Trauma Broken bones (fractures) Autoimmune disorders Smoking Medications such as oral contraceptives. How are thrombotic disorders treated? Doctors at Connecticut Children’s can determine the right plan if your child requires treatment for a thrombotic disorder. Our Hemostasis & Thrombosis Program is a federally funded program that provides compassionate care to children and adults with bleeding disorders and thrombosis. Our pediatric hematologists will work with patients and families to determine the best course of treatment. Often this may mean anticoagulation medications (blood thinners) and extensive monitoring. Why Connecticut Children’s? Connecticut Children’s is home to some of the top researchers in the nation. We are currently conducting studies to improve fertility in female patients undergoing chemotherapy, as well as evaluating the long-term effects of chemotherapy on the heart. Connecticut Children’s also partners with three research groups. These partnerships help us to offer pediatric patients the latest innovations in clinical therapy, while also advancing clinical cancer research that benefits children everywhere. Children’s Oncology Group The Sunshine Project Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium Connecticut Children’s also offers a variety of special programs and services to support patients and their families during and after cancer treatment. Some of these programs include: Cancer Supportive Care Services collaborates with medical providers and researchers on a regional, national and international basis to provide state-of-the-art supportive care for oncology and hematology patients. The program has been recognized for its clinical care and research efforts. Cancer Psychosocial Team – Psychologists, social workers, child life specialists, and our resource specialists provide patients and families emotional support, counseling services, resources, education and guidance to adapt to the challenges a cancer diagnosis brings. Our psychosocial team strives to understand each family’s unique strengths and abilities to help them cope with a cancer diagnosis, treatment and beyond. The Reid R. Sacco Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program – provides comprehensive cancer care for adolescents and young adults. We offer state-of-the-art medical care and support for the unique emotional and social needs of patients in this age group. Comprehensive Fertility and Sexual Health Team – As treatments for childhood, adolescent, and young adult cancers and other chronic health conditions continue to improve, we must also address the potential side effects of treatment, including fertility and sexual health. REACH for the STARS Survivorship Program – The REACH for the STARS Survivorship Program at Connecticut Children’s encompasses research, education, advocacy, continued life and health (REACH) for survivors tackling all roadblocks successfully (STARS). The unique program provides guidance and ongoing support to pediatric, adolescent, and young adult cancer survivors along with access to resources to help them improve and maintain their quality of life. The Center for Cardio-Oncology and Innovation for Cancer Survivors – Over half of childhood cancers are successfully treated with cancer therapy that can cause damage to the heart. As a result, childhood cancer survivors may experience long-term cardiovascular complications from cancer therapy, with a higher risk of heart failure. Cardio-oncology focuses on developing safer, more effective cancer therapies, and preventing and treating heart disease in cancer survivors and patients currently undergoing cancer treatment.