The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only center in the region with a pediatric oncology program.

“We’re working to bring leading-edge therapies to our young patients, making sure that the national trials through the Children’s Oncology Group, as well as other trials, are open to our patients,” said Marcio Malogolowkin, a board-certified pediatric hematologist-oncologist and chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology.

According to the ACS, about 11,000 children in the United States under the age of 15 were diagnosed with cancer in 2020. Childhood cancer rates have been gradually rising for the past few decades. Because of major treatment advances in recent decades, 84% of children with cancer now survive five years or more.

Pediatric cancer represents less than 1% of all cancer in the U.S., and only 4% of the billions of dollars the U.S. government spends annually on cancer research is directed toward treating childhood cancer. The challenge is that frequently, pediatric cancer programs compete for the same funding sources.

“Working with other investigators, we are developing novel therapies to address the challenges of pediatric cancer,” shared Malogolowkin. “For example, Dr. Reuben Antony, a neurooncologist, is partnering with our pediatric genomic medicine colleagues in studying therapies to treat plexiform neurofibromas, a problem seen in more than a third of patients with neurofibromatosis, which causes significant disfigurement and morbidity for these pediatric patients.”

The pediatric oncology program at UC Davis is unique in that it is embedded in the cancer center. Oncologists work with inpatient care teams at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital to care for our children with cancer. Everything is designed with the specific needs of the pediatric patient in mind.

“When you save a child, you’re saving 50–60 years of a productive life,” said Malogolowkin.

Other resources for adolescents and young adult patients with cancer

The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of only a few hospitals to offer a robust program for adolescent and young adult cancer patients, ages 15 to 39.

The Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program was developed to acknowledge and meet head-on the unique needs of patients in this group.

The mission is to provide high-quality, evidence-based, coordinated care that promotes the physical, psychological and emotional health of adolescents and young adults with cancer during and after therapy. The program empowers patients by sharing the resources and knowledge needed to live an independent and fulfilling life.