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Pediatric Oncology Patient

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Your child may need to visit a pediatric hematologist/oncologist if he has been diagnosed with cancer or a blood disorder. Being diagnosed with one of these conditions can be scary for your child. Your family's lifestyle and routine may change, because many of these issues need ongoing care. Your doctor at our Hematology/Oncology Clinic will build a relationship with you, your child and other family members. Our pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic also has a full-time child life specialist to help your child understand and cope with his diagnosis.

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Common Blood Disorders in Children

The most common blood conditions these doctors treat include:

  • Leukemia
  • Neuoblastoma
  • Kidney cancer
  • Tumors
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Lymphomas
  • Anemias
  • Hemophilia

Children's Oncology Group (COG)

Children's Hospital is a member of the Children's Oncology Group (COG). We do clinical trials at the hospital and complete research to look more deeply at what causes cancer, how to treat it and what cures may exist. We are able to offer the same kind of groundbreaking treatments that other COG hospitals can for most types of childhood cancer.

Other COG members include:

  • Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York
  • Monroe Carrell, Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.
  • St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.


Leukemia refers to cancers of the white blood cells. When someone has leukemia, his bone marrow produces too many abnormal white blood cells. These blood cells crowd his bloodstream and cannot protect his body against diseases because they are defective.

As leukemia spreads, the body is unable to produce other kinds of blood cells, like red blood cells and platelets. This process may cause anemia and other bleeding problems.

Leukemia cancers make up 30 percent of childhood cancers.

Symptoms of leukemia include:

  • More viral or bacterial infections than usual
  • A pale appearance
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bruising and bleeding easily
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Pain in the joints or bones
  • Swollen lymphnodes

To make a diagnosis for leukemia, the doctor will complete a complete blood count (CBC) to measure the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets in your child's blood.

Chemotherapy is the main treatment for childhood leukemia. Other treatments include radiation therapy, targeted therapy and stem cell transplants.


Cancerous tumors, also called sarcomas, can develop anywhere in the body. Types of sarcomas include:

  • Brain tumors
  • Liver tumors
  • Ewing sarcoma
  • Neuroblastoma

Tumors are caused when cells divide and grow too much in the body. Symptoms of tumors depend on where it is growing and what kind it is. Some tumors may not cause any symptoms.

Sarcomas are usually treated with removal through surgery. Chemotherapy and radiation may also be used.

Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell disease means that your child's red blood cells are not shaped normally. It is an inherited disease and can cause:

  • Chronic anemia
  • Damage to body organs
  • Serious infections

Sickle cell disease is usually diagnosed at birth with a blood test. Early diagnosis and treatment is important for your child's health. Symptoms of sickle cell disease can vary from mild to severe depending on the type of disease your child has.

The only known cure for sickle cell disease is a bone marrow transplant. Because these transplants are risky, they are only done for a few patients who have very severe complications. Without a bone marrow transplant, children with sickle cell disease can lead normal lives. Medicines are available to help with pain and to prevent infections.

Your child will visit his pediatric hematologist frequently for regular care.

Hematology/Oncology Patients and Parents (HOPP)

Hematology/Oncology Patients and Parents (HOPP) is a support group for patients and their families who are being treated for cancer at Children's Hospital. It is led by a board of directors who are parents with experience in coping with having a child with cancer. Children's Hospital staff members lead the group, too.

HOPP hosts frequent events for its members including holiday parties, outdoor trips and movie outings.