Pediatric hematologist/oncologists specialize in treating both blood diseases and cancers that affect children, working closely with the child, parents and other specialists to provide the highest standard of care.

Watch an Overview of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

About Pediatric Hematology / Oncology

Pediatric hematology/oncology is a field of medicine concerned with the care of infants, children and adolescents that suffer from blood related disorders (hematology) or cancer (oncology), or both. Physicians who practice pediatric hematology/oncology have been trained to identify, diagnose and treat the wide range of disorders that fall into these two categories. These physicians are trained to provide care not only for the patient, but to provide additional support to the rest of the patient’s family.

Pediatric hematologist/oncologists are capable of identifying, treating and managing blood and blood-related diseases such as hemophilia, neutropenia, anemias and bone marrow failure syndromes, among others. Cancers that may be treated by these physicians include sarcomas, Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, carcinoma and different types of leukemia, among many others.

Although pediatric hematologist/oncologists are capable of providing treatment on their own, they often work as part of a multidisciplinary medical team, usually in children’s or community hospitals or specialized cancer and blood disease centers. Many pediatric hematologist/oncologists perform research and conduct studies when not providing treatment in an effort at furthering their own understanding of diseases and working to advance the field as a whole.

Pediatric Hematology / Oncology Education & Training

Pediatric hematologist/oncologists must complete a demanding program of study before they are qualified to become licensed and practice. First, the completion of a bachelor’s degree is required before entering medical school. During four years of medical school, the student becomes proficient in the provision of general medical care by completing clinical, laboratory and classroom training. After graduating from medical school with an MD or DO degree, the physician must enter into a pediatric residency.

Upon entrance into a residency in pediatrics, the physician begins to specialize in the treatment of infants, children and adolescents. While under the tutelage of experienced pediatricians, the resident will treat pediatric patients for a wide assortment of complications, illnesses and diseases. During this time, the physician becomes acquainted with the diagnostic and treatment techniques that are suitable for children; residents cultivate the communication skills that are necessary as a provider of medical care to children. After completing three years of residency training, the pediatrician must enter into fellowship training.

During a fellowship program in pediatric hematology/oncology, the physician begins to refine their expertise in the areas of blood-related diseases and cancers present in children. As a fellow, physicians explore the pathology and physiology of these disorders – preparing them for the complex diagnostic and treatment procedures that they must perform as pediatric hematologist/oncologists. Fellows hone their skills by completing rotations in oncology, neuro-oncology, hematology and bone marrow transplantation in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Many fellows are also required to complete clinical research that expands their knowledge and understanding of the complex disorders they treat. After completing fellowship training, many pediatric hematologist/oncologists seek board certification in pediatric hematology-oncology from the American Board of Pediatrics; all practicing physicians must hold a valid medical license in the state(s) they provide care.