Your child's first oncology appointment

Stuart E. Siegel, MD Director, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, shares advice for parents on what their family can expect at their child's first oncology appointment
Pediatric Cancer Advice | Your Child's First Oncology Appointment
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Your child's first oncology appointment

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The first visit that a family and child will have with the oncologist is usually the time when the oncologist will talk with them about what the possible diagnosis are. Because, usually, when a child is refereed to an oncologist, the diagnosis is not certain. So, I usually sit down with the family and talk about the possible diagnosis. And go over the test that we are planning to do. And the process that we are going to use to try to come to a diagnosis. And then try to answer all the questions that I can. If the child is old enough to understand what we'll be talking about, then I talk with the child as well. And, try to do it in terms that they'll understand. So, that they're not feeling that there's things going on that they don't know about it. That are going on behind their backs. Because, what that does is just engender fear. And that's the worst thing you can do to a child. You need to have that child understand what's going. And feel comfortable with you and trust you. And that starts right at the very beginning. Same thing for the parents. The first time you meet that's where the trust and the relationship is developed. So, it's very important to spend time developing that trust. Being patient and making sure you answer all their questions about what you're going to be doing to try to find out what's wrong with their child.

Stuart E. Siegel, MD Director, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, shares advice for parents on what their family can expect at their child's first oncology appointment

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Stuart E. Siegel, MD

Director, Children’s Center for Cancer & Blood Diseases, Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Before recently shifting his focus to international medicine, Stuart Siegel, MD, was Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology for 35 years and the founding director of the the Children’s Center for Cancer & Blood Diseases at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and Professor and Head of the Division of Hematology-Oncology Department of Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California. He remains a leader in supportive care and research in pediatric oncology, with a special focus on neuroblastoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Ewing Sarcoma, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and brain tumors. From developing the first pediatric protective environment in 1971 for children undergoing intensive chemotherapy, to pioneering current efforts to develop academic and clinical care programs nationally and locally for adolescents and young adults with cancer, Dr. Siegel’s contributions have revolutionized the field of pediatric oncology. Dr. Siegel has been honored for his work by the American Cancer Society, Children Foundation, the Cancer Foundation, the Chase Foundation, Padres Contra El Cancer, the Israel Cancer Research Fund and Ronald McDonald House Charities, where he is a member of the National Board, and has consistently been listed among the nation’s top doctors in such publications asAmerica’s Top Doctors and Best Doctors in America. He is a father of one son, Joshua; grandfather of David and Elijah; and lives in Pacific Palisades with his wife of seven years.

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