Who is a Pediatric Hemato-Oncologist?

by Dr. Raghuram CP

This department comprises of specialists like pediatricians, hematologists, oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, critical care etc., who specialize in identifying, diagnosing, and treating, infants, children, teens and adolescents for cancer and blood related disorders.

Ideally when a child/infant is suspected or diagnosed of having either cancer or blood related disorder given their genetic condition/predisposition/mutations, medical history, lifestyle factors etc, they are referred to a Pediatric Hemato-Oncologist. In children or infants, genetic factors may play a bigger role in development of cancer while, in adults in most cases it is linked to environmental/lifestyle factors, hence cancers in children differ from those of adults, likewise their treatment options and success rates. Early detection and treatment are the best things to do for prevention and to take informed decisions.

Conditions treated by a Pediatric Hemato- Oncologist

1. Childhood cancers: The most common ones are Leukemias (blood cancer), brain tumours, lymphomas, neuroblastomas, wilms tumor, rhabdomyosarcoma, retinoblastoma and bone cancer (osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma), other solid tumours. These cancers affect or stem from bone marrow, nerve cells, lymphatic system, brain cells, spinal cord, kidney cells, the bone, supporting tissues etc.

2. Blood disorders:These disorders affect red blood cells and white blood cells. Some of the common ones are: Iron deficiency anaemia, Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anemia, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, hereditary spherocytosis, different types of anemia, diamond-blackfan Syndrome, kostmann syndrome, cyclic neutropenia, shwachman-diamond syndrome and auto-immune hemolytic anaemias etc.

3. Bleeding disorder:These disorders affect platelets and blood clotting. Some of them are hemophilia, Von Willebrand disease, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) etc.

4. Blood Clotting disorders:Children with these disorders have excessive blood clotting. Some of them are Anti-phospholipid antibody syndrome, factor V Leiden, prothrombin gene mutation (G20210), protein C and S deficiency.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of many diseases may look similar. Therefore, to ensure early diagnosis and timely treatment consult your doctors if you notice these symptoms often.

  • An unusual lump or swelling

  • Unexplained fatigue and weight loss

  • Easy bruising

  • Constant pain in the body

  • Limping

  • Frequent illness/fever/infections

  • Sudden eye or vision changes

  • Easy bleeding or bruising

  • Increased paleness of skin

  • Shortness of breath

  • Rashes

A Pedeatric Hemato- Oncologist may perform various diagnostics tests to ascertain the disease and its severity to devise a treatment plan for the patient. Some of them include biopsy, blood plasma tests, genetic or molecular testing, scans, blood, and other lab tests etc.

Treatments for Hemato-Onco disorders

Below are the treatment options which the doctor can suggest basis the type of disease, age of the child and severity of the disease.

  • Chemotherapy: Taking drugs to kill cancer

  • Radiation Therapy: Undertaking radiation treatment to kill cancer

  • Surgery: Involves removing tumor or cancer

  • Immunotherapy: Using medication to help your immune system fight cancer

  • Stem Cell Transplant (Bone marrow, Peripheral, Stem Cell, Cord Blood): Removing faulty cells or cancer cells and adding stem cells from a healthy donor and helping them to function to create a new healthy blood system and immune system

  • Transfusions of blood products: Healthy people donate blood products which is transferred to cancer patients or other patients who are not able to make them

  • Targeted therapies: These are drugs or substances that inhibits molecules involved in causing or spreading the disease

Treating pediatric hemato-onco diseases in India needs a multidisciplinary team with highly skilled and specialized, doctors, nurses and support staff coupled with the latest and range of treatments and state-of-the-art infrastructure. At Aster CMI Hospital , we provide comprehensive care for children from 0-18 years with help of our leading team of paediatricians, radiologists, pediatric hemato-oncologists, surgeons, critical care specialists etc. We provide a children conducive environment in the hospital where all the doctors and staff handle children with care and compassion. If your child is diagnosed or suspected to have hemato-onco diseases, then please consult our experts at Aster without any further delay, who are among the best pediatric hemato-oncologist in Bangalore. Our goal is to provide you with advanced facilities, conducive environment, multipronged treatment, skilled clinicians all under one roof as we are continuously working towards ensuring exceptional patient care with focus on patient’s quality of life and clinical excellence.

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