Solid Tumor Program

The Solid Tumor Program at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital combines the expertise of specialists across our hospital for a more comprehensive approach to care for patients with various solid tumors. We are recognized as a Top 50 Children's Cancer Program by U.S. News & World Report for 2023-2024.

The Solid Tumor team at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, treats solid tumors in children and young adults up to 21 years of age. Our compassionate team members understand the challenges that patients and families face with solid tumors. We assign our patients and families a devoted care team that offers individualized attention, treatment and emotional support. Your child’s care team will be with you and your family throughout the process, helping every step of the way.

It is our goal for your child to be cancer-free and to live an active and healthy life.

Our approach to solid tumors in children?

Tumors are abnormal cells that cluster together. They may be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign). When a child has a solid tumor, it means the tumor doesn’t contain any liquid. Solid tumors can occur in different parts of the body, such as bones, muscles or organs.

What causes solid tumors in children?

For most patients, the cause is unknown. Sometimes, a doctor may suspect the patient has an abnormal gene that causes cancer. If this is the case, the doctor will refer the patient for genetic testing within our hospital.

What are the early symptoms of a solid tumor?

The symptoms of a solid tumor can vary widely based on the type of tumor. Some patients may have no symptoms, while others may become very ill before they are diagnosed. If a child has symptoms, they might include:

  • A painless lump in the body 
  • Pain in a specific body part 
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Exhaustion
  • Unexpected weight loss

What types of solid tumors do we treat at Johns Hopkins All Children’s?

The Solid Tumor team treats all solid tumors outside of the brain and spinal cord in children and young adults up to 21 years of age. Some solid tumors our team treats include:

  • Ewing Sarcoma. Ewing Sarcoma is a tumor that can develop in any bone in the body, but usually happens in the bones of the arms, legs, ribs, spine and pelvis.
  • Kidney Tumors. Kidney tumors are usually in one kidney, but can be in both. Wilms tumor is the most common kidney tumor in children. If a child has a kidney tumor, he or she might have pain, swelling or a lump in the abdomen or blood in the urine.
  • Liver Tumors. If a child has a liver tumor, he or she might have bulging in the abdomen that makes his or her belly look big and may also experience weight loss or loss of appetite.
  • Neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma tumors develop from the tissues that form the sympathetic nervous system and are often in the abdomen in the adrenal gland tissues.
  • Osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma usually develops from cells that make growing bones. In most cases, osteosarcomas develop from an unpredictable error in the DNA of growing bone cells.
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma. Rhabdomyosarcoma is a tumor that occurs in muscle. These can occur in almost any location in the body.
  • Germ Cell Tumors. Germ cell tumors arise from abnormal cells in various parts of the body, including the ovaries, testes, chest and brain.
  • Rare Tumors: These are tumors that occur only a few times in children each year and do not belong to the categories above. 

How do we diagnose solid tumors?

Our team usually diagnoses solid tumors with a biopsy or removal of the tumor. A pathologist reviews the tumor under a microscope and uses other specialized testing to determine the diagnosis.

What happens after diagnosis of a tumor?

If the tumor is cancerous, your child’s care team will determine if the cancer has spread to other areas in the body. This determination process is called staging and helps doctors determine the best treatment strategy for each patient. Depending on the tumor type, staging might involve scans such as CT, MRI or PET scans.

What treatments do we offer for solid tumors?

Based on tumor type and staging results, your child’s treatment will be planned with a multidisciplinary team that includes every specialist involved in your child’s care. Your team will design a treatment approach that is aggressive, yet as safe as possible.

Patients often need a combination of treatments. Our treatment options include:

  • Surgery to remove some or all of the tumor: Our surgeons are highly skilled and experienced in removing various types of tumors, including those that are hard to treat.
  • Chemotherapy (IV medications): Chemotherapy uses medicines to kill cancer cells. Since the medications travel through the bloodstream, chemotherapy can kill tumor cells as well as cells that break away and travel through the bloodstream.
  • Radiation therapy: With radiation treatment, a machine is used to direct high-energy radiation at the tumor to destroy tumor cells.
  • Clinical trials: Your child can participate in Johns Hopkins clinical trials without leaving Florida. We collaborate with Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), and multiple other national and international collaborations to provide the latest treatment options and improve solid tumor survival rates. Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital is a non-core member of the Pediatric Early Phase Clinical Trials Network (PEP-CTN), an international group of leading pediatric oncology programs dedicated to conducting early phase clinical trials for pediatric cancers. See our clinical trials.

About Our Coordinated Care Team

Our multidisciplinary care teams include experts from the following specialties:

  • Pediatric Surgery: Our Pediatric Surgery team performs biopsies, removes tumors and places special IV’s for patients receiving chemotherapy.
  • Interventional Radiology: Our Interventional Radiology team performs biopsies when surgery is not needed and performs tumor-directed interventional therapies.
  • Pathology: Our Pathology team processes tissue specimens and makes solid tumor diagnoses using the latest pathology and molecular genetic techniques.
  • Palliative Care: Our Palliative Care team works to improve quality of life for our patients and families receiving cancer treatment.
  • Oncology clinical pharmacists: Every patient is followed by an oncology clinical pharmacist who monitors the child’s specific medical needs.
  • Social workers: Our social workers offer patients and families various types of support and can arrange services after discharge.
  • Chaplains: Our chaplains offer emotional and spiritual support to patients and their families while honoring all religious beliefs and worldviews.
  • Child Life: Our Child Life specialists use developmental, educational and therapeutic interventions and play to help patients and their families cope with illness, treatment and hospitalization.
  • Case management: Your case manager will ensure your child has the best care plan and services when he or she is discharged and will also work with patients and families to make sure they are aware of options available within their benefits.
  • Fertility preservation specialists: The Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology team will discuss fertility with patients and families, so they can make informed decisions along the course of treatment. 

The following practices are committed to the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Solid Tumor Program:

  • Orthopaedic Oncology: Specialists at Moffitt Cancer Center perform biopsies and remove tumors in patients who have solid tumors in the arms and legs. They also work to restore normal function to the arms and legs after tumor surgery.
  • Radiation Oncology: Specialists at AdventHealth give radiation therapy to patients with solid tumors.

Contact Us and Meet Our Team

For more information or to make an appointment, please give us a call at the phone number below. We serve families in the Tampa Bay area and beyond.

Give us a call

Call 727-767-4176

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Our Specialists

Meet our team

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Our Solid Tumor Program provides services at the following locations:

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