Pediatric oncologists are medical doctors who specialize in the care and treatment of children diagnosed with cancer. They have had:
- At least 4 years of medical school
- 3 years of residency training in pediatrics
- At least 3 additional years of fellowship training in pediatric hematology/oncology
- Certification from the American Board of Pediatrics
Pediatric oncologists are concerned with many aspects of cancer care and work within a multidisciplinary medical team in order to provide children and teens with the best possible cancer treatment. Your child's pediatric oncologist may:
- Screen children and teens at risk for cancer
- Diagnose children and teens with cancer
- Explain the cancer diagnosis and stage (a description of where the cancer is located, if or where it has spread, and whether it is affecting other parts of the body)
- Discuss all treatment options and provide a recommendation for the best course of treatment
- Provide therapy to treat cancer (e.g. surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy)
- Provide follow-up care after successful cancer treatment
- Help maintain quality-of-life by managing cancer-related pain and other symptoms or treatment side effects
Your child's pediatric onoclogy team may also include a pathologist (a doctor who specializes in interpreting laboratory tests and evaluating cells, tissues, and organs to diagnose disease)and a diagnostic radiologist (a doctor who specializes in performing and interpreting imaging tests, such as x-rays or ultrasound tests, to diagnose disease).
Your child's oncologist should address cancer-related infertility and assess your child's risks. Start the conversation with these 5 questions:
1. How is cancer affecting my child's health right now?
2. How quickly does my child need to start treatment?
3. Will cancer or its treatment affect my child's future fertility?
4. What fertility options are out there for children?
5. Is having children someday possible for my child after cancer?
If you have a specific fertility-related question or would like a referal for a fertility preservation consultation, call the Oncofertility Consortium® FERTline at 312-503-FERT or 866-708-FERT to speak with a patient navigator and find a reproductive specialist near you.