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Cancer in Children: Your Child’s Healthcare Team

A team of highly trained specialists will help manage your child’s care. You and your child will work closely with them. They will help you make choices about your child’s health. They will help you and your child cope with cancer and its treatment. They can also answer your questions.

Group of four healthcare providers smiling.
A team of trained specialists will help you make important choices about your child’s health.

Team Members

Below are some of the people who may care for your child. You may already know a few of them.

  • Attending oncologist. A doctor who manages cancer in children. This doctor leads the healthcare team. He or she works with other team members to ensure the best care for your child.

  • Fellow. A doctor who cares for children (pediatrician) and is training to treat kids with cancer. 

  • Resident. A doctor who may be training to be a pediatrician. Residents often work in teaching hospitals.

  • Clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner. A nurse who gives care to children with cancer. He or she may help the doctor manage your child’s symptoms. They may help adjust medications. They may perform medical exams.

  • Nurses. Professionals who give patient care. They teach and give support to the child and family.

  • Pathologist. A doctor who finds cancer and other diseases. To do this, they look at cells under a microscope or review lab tests.

  • Genetic counselor. A specialist who helps find out if diseases run in families. He or she can order genetic testing if needed.

  • Nutritionist. A specialist who helps with your child’s nutrition. He or she can teach you about a special diet for your child if needed. 

  • Child life specialist. A specialist trained in child development. They study how children react to illness and hospitalization. They help you and your child cope during your child’s time in the hospital.

  • Psychologist. A specialist who helps your child and family cope with feelings that may arise due to illness.

  • Oncologist. A doctor who diagnoses cancer and then treats it with chemotherapy.

  • Radiation oncologist. A doctor who treats cancer with radiation.

  • Pediatric surgeon. A doctor who does surgery on children.

  • Anesthesiologist. A doctor who uses medication to help your child sleep through procedures.

  • Physical therapist and occupational therapist. These are specialists who help improve strength and motor skills. They can help people relearn daily tasks.

  • Pharmacist. A specialist trained to prepare and dispense medication.

Specialists

Specialists will help care for your child. The ones you will work with will depend on the type of cancer your child has. Each of these doctors focuses on a different body part or system:

  • Cardiologist: heart

  • Endocrinologist: glands and hormones

  • Dermatologist: skin

  • Gastroenterologist: digestive system

  • Geneticist: genetic (inherited) conditions

  • Hematologist: blood and blood-making organs

  • Nephrologist: kidneys

  • Neurologist: brain and nervous system

  • Ophthalmologist: eyes

  • Orthopedist: bones, muscles, joints, and ligaments

  • Pulmonologist: lungs

  • Urologist: urinary tract

Support Members

There are other people who can help you. They include social workers and schoolteachers. They also include chaplains. These support members can help you find emotional, spiritual, and financial support. They can help you and your family cope with the changes that cancer brings. Talk with them as soon as you are able.

Online Medical Reviewer: Gibson, Denise, CRNP, CPON, OCN
Last Review Date: 8/6/2012
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.