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Unusual Cancers of Childhood (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Other Rare Unusual Cancers of Childhood



Treatment of pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma in children may include the following:

  • Surgery to completely removed the tumor.
  • Combination chemotherapy or treatment with high-dose 131I-MIBG for tumors that have spread.

Before surgery, drug therapy with alpha-blockers to control blood pressure and beta-blockers to control heart rate are given. If both adrenal glands are removed, life-long hormone therapy to replace hormones made by the adrenal glands is needed after surgery.

Skin Cancer (Melanoma, Squamous Cell Cancer, Basal Cell Cancer)

Skin cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the skin. The skin is the body's largest organ. It protects against heat, sunlight, injury, and infection. Skin also helps control body temperature and stores water, fat, and vitamin D. The skin has several layers, but the two main layers are the epidermis (upper or outer layer) and the dermis (lower or inner layer). Skin cancer begins in the epidermis, which is made up of three kinds of cells:

  • Squamous cells: Thin, flat cells that form the top layer of the epidermis.
  • Basal cells: Round cells under the squamous cells.
  • Melanocytes: Found in the lower part of the epidermis, these cells make melanin, the pigment that gives skin its natural color. When skin is exposed to the sun, melanocytes make more pigment and cause the skin to darken.

Anatomy of the skin, showing the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue. Melanocytes are in the layer of basal cells at the deepest part of the epidermis.

There are three types of skin cancer:

  • Melanoma.
  • Squamous cell skin cancer.
  • Basal cell skin cancer.


Even though melanoma is rare, it is the most common skin cancer in children. It occurs more often in children aged 10 to 19 years. Melanoma rates in the United States have slowly increased since 1975.

The risk of having melanoma is increased by the following:

  • Giant melanocytic nevi (large black spots, which may cover the trunk and thigh).
  • Xeroderma pigmentosum.
  • Certain disorders of the immune system.
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia Type I (MEN1) syndrome (Werner syndrome).
  • A personal history of retinoblastoma.
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