CareTalk Blog: Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders

CareTalk: Blog for Cancer and Blood Disorders

Get insights and inspiration from Nemours’ experts in Hematology/Oncology.

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Hematology (Blood Disorders)

blood specimens in test tubes

If your child is diagnosed with a pediatric blood disorder, Nemours’ pediatric hematology experts are here to help. Our board-certified hematologists (pediatric hematology doctors who specialize in conditions of the blood) evaluate, diagnose, and treat all types of blood disorders in children, including sickle cell anemia.

 
Learn More About Our Pediatric Hematology Care

Our family-centered approach focuses on your whole child, not just the blood disorder. In addition to specialized treatments, we offer complementary therapies to help minimize your child’s fears about what’s to come next. Our highly-trained team of doctors, pediatric hematology nurses, social workers, psychologists, and others on your child’s care team will help guide you throughout your child’s treatments.

Nemours Children's Hospital, Orlando


13535 Nemours Parkway
Orlando, FL 32827
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Clinic Location: 4th Floor

For Appointments: (407) 650-7715

 
What to Bring
  • photo ID
  • medical and pharmacy insurance cards
  • preferred pharmacy name and phone number
  • names and dosage of all medications, including over-the-counter medication, your child is currently taking
  • guardianship and custody papers, if a legal guardian rather than a parent accompanies your child
 
Helpful Resources
Resources for Patients & Families

As a parent, you’re always concerned with keeping your child safe and healthy. So when your child is diagnosed with a blood disorder, it’s good to know that at Nemours Children’s Hospital, our board-certified pediatric hematologists have the knowledge and resources to meet the physical and emotional needs of your child and your family.

Our goal is to treat your child, not just the condition, and we promise to do all we can to help your child feel comfortable. Designed by families, for families, our bright, child-friendly clinic on the 4th floor is filled with natural light providing a wonderful setting for personalized, one-on-one care.

We also know that you are the expert on your child and we take a family-centered approach, encouraging your input and involvement in the decision-making process for your child’s treatment. We’ll explain every step in easily understandable terms, present all options (including alternative methods), and invite your input.

Whatever you’re facing, know that at Nemours Children’s Hospital we do whatever it takes to give your child the very best, most compassionate treatment possible, treating every child as we would our own.

About Blood Disorders

Blood disorders are diseases of the blood, including:

  • red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the body’s tissues
  • white blood cells, which help your child’s body to fight infections
  • platelets, which work to help your child’s blood clot properly
  • clotting factors, proteins found in blood that help stop bleeding after a cut or surgery
 
Types of Red Blood Diseases We Treat
  • iron-deficiency anemia: low iron levels that lead to decreased hemoglobin which helps carry oxygen through the blood to all parts of the body
  • G6PD deficiency (also called RBC enzyme abnormalities): an inherited condition in which a child lacks an enzyme that protects red blood cells
  • hemolytic anemias: the abnormal breakdown of red blood cells
  • sickle cell disease: a common inherited disorder caused when the red blood cells become sticky and oddly shaped
  • thalassemia (Cooley’s anemia): a genetic condition in which one of the two proteins that help make up hemoglobin in red blood cells is lacking
  • neutropenia: a condition caused by a decrease of white blood cells, as a result of disease or chemotherapy treatment
  • anemia: due to a chronic condition such as kidney disease, cancer, or lead poisoning
 
Types of White Blood Cell Diseases We Treat
  • neutropenia: a condition caused by a decrease of white blood cells, as a result of disease or chemotherapy treatment
  • leukemia: a cancer of the blood that develops in the spongy center of some bones (called the bone marrow)
  • lymphoma: a blood cancer that develops in your child’s lymph system and includes two types: Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • myelodysplastic syndrome: blood cancer affecting the bone marrow
 
Types of Platelets Diseases We Treat
  • thrombocytopenia: a condition caused by too few platelets and results in abnormal bleeding
  • thrombocytosis: a condition caused by too many platelets, which can lead to clots in the blood vessels
  • idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura: caused by a low number of platelets that results in abnormal bruising and bleeding
  • qualitative platelet disorders
 
Caring for Children with Hemophilia

Our pediatric hematology experts are knowledgeable in treating children with hemophilia, an inherited, uncontrolled bleeding disorder. Children diagnosed with hemophilia either lack or have a low supply of proteins in their blood called “factors:” factor VIII or factor IX. These factors help your child’s blood to clot after an injury, preventing excessive bleeding.

There are three main types of hemophilia:
  • hemophilia A: the most common form, caused by a lack of blood clotting factor VIII
  • hemophilia B: caused by a low supply of factor IX
  • von Willebrand disease (vWF): this type of hemophilia causes prolonged bleeding
Symptoms of hemophilia include:
  • excessive bleeding
  • bruising easily
  • joint bleeds (causing chronic pain and immobility)
  • bleeding into the muscles (causing swelling, pain, and redness)
  • bleeding from injury or in the brain (brain hemorrhage)
Treatment for hemophilia depends on your child’s severity and may include:
  • factor concentrates
  • blood transfusions
  • surgery
  • limiting contact sports
  • immunizations administered under the skin rather than in the muscle

Convenient Pediatric Hematology Services

We provide many kinds of treatments and other services at Nemours Children’s Hospital, including:

  • chemotherapy: offered Monday through Friday, each of our comfortable, kid-friendly chemotherapy rooms are equipped with TVs, DVDs, toys, age-appropriate Wii video games, and other services to help distract your child from treatment
  • specialized blood testing and analysis in our state-of-art lab
  • blood banking: a process that takes place in our hospital-based lab, operated by OneBlood, to ensure donated blood is safe before it’s used for transfusions
  • transfusions: a procedure in which your child is given whole blood or one part of it through an intravenous (IV) line
 
Bone Marrow Transplant

For some children, a bone marrow transplant can make a real difference. This advanced procedure destroys cancer or abnormal cells with chemotherapy, and then re-introduces healthy donor stem cells in your child’s body.

It’s currently available at our Nemours Children’s Clinic, Jacksonville, about two hours away, the only accredited bone marrow transplant facility in Florida. The procedure is provided in collaboration with our pediatric health care partner, Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

 
Your Child’s Pediatric Hematology Care Team

Our family-centered approach focuses on your whole child, not just the disease. Helping to guide you throughout your child’s diagnosis and treatment, our highly trained team includes an entire collection of health care providers and support service members:

  • board-certified pediatric hematology doctors
  • specially trained pediatric hematology nurses
  • licensed clinical social workers
  • medical assistants
  • registered dietitians
  • Child Life specialists, who provide supportive and educational services, as well as activities such as art and music therapy, to help promote positive coping strategies and understanding of your child’s medical condition
Other specialists who may be on your child’s care team include:

In addition to specialized treatments, we offer complementary services to help kids feel better physically and emotionally, such as:

  • art therapy: with the help of volunteers, children with cancer are encouraged to express their artistic talents with drawings and paintings, many of which grace the walls of our hospital.
  • beaded journey: this program offers a distraction to children receiving chemotherapy and other treatments by giving them a different colored bead documenting the various procedures on their journey. Volunteers come to the hospital with sewing machines and work with children, helping them sew on the beads to create fun pillowcases, puppets, and other keepsake items.

For your convenience, many of these treatments and services are also available at our Nemours Children’s Clinic, Orlando.


More Hospital Services & Amenities

 
If Your Child Needs to Stay Overnight in Our Hospital

You’ll feel right at home in one of our private patient rooms designed with input from families who know what it’s like to have a child in the hospital.

Our large, comfortable, single-patient rooms have sleeping accommodations for two parents, a private bathroom, wireless Internet access, connections for DVD players and game systems, and two flat-screen TVs.

Other in-room features include:
  • full floor-to-ceiling windows for natural light
  • refrigerator for family meals and snacks
  • wardrobe storage for personal items and a hotel-style safe
  • GetWellNetwork interactive television (uniquely based on your child’s age, medical condition and more) and allows your child to watch TV, surf the Web, check e-mail, play music and games, and learn about your Nemours health care team.

Our “hospital within a garden” setting features many places for you and your family to go for fresh air and relaxation, including a one-acre interactive sensory discovery garden or one of our rooftop gardens on the second and fourth floors.

We have many more comforts and amenities such as:
  • complimentary valet and parking
  • kid-friendly commons areas for siblings
  • café and coffee shop
  • nondenominational chapel
  • concierge services

Learn More About Nemours Children’s Hospital »

 
Advanced Pediatric Medical Imaging Services Available Onsite

If your child needs medical imaging, we offer some of the area’s most advanced pediatric radiology services here on campus at Nemours
Children’s Hospital.

Our unique services include:
  • interventional radiology: Our team of experts uses image guidance to diagnose and treat diseases and tumors throughout the body. Certain conditions that previously required open surgery can now be treated by Nemours pediatric interventional radiologists. We are very fortunate to have the only dual-trained pediatric diagnostic and interventional radiologist in the state.
  • neuroradiological or cardiovascular imaging, and fetal MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): Our subspecialty-trained pediatric radiologists see children with complex conditions who require this highly specialized imaging.
  • Central Florida’s only 256-slice Brilliance iCT Scanner: We are one of only a handful of children’s hospitals in the country to have this latest generation CAT (or CT) scanner that scans faster than most machines and produces excellent images in a much shorter time with much less radiation exposure for the child.

Our team of board-certified pediatric radiologists and pediatric radiologic technologists are experts in the safe medical imaging of children of every age, even newborns.

We have also pledged our commitment to the “Image Gently” campaign of the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging, which is increasing awareness of the opportunities to promote radiation protection in the imaging of children.

Learn More About Medical Imaging at Nemours Children's Hospital »

 
Family-Centered Care Means We're Here for You

At Nemours, we want to hear your concerns and share with you everything we can about your child's condition and treatment. If English is not your first language, we'll make sure you understand what to expect — in your language.

Learn More About Interpreter Services at Nemours Children’s Hospital »

 
With Your Family From Clinic or Hospital to Home: KidsTRACK

If your child has a complex or chronic condition we encourage you to take advantage of KidsTRACK, a unique service of Nemours Children’s Hospital. Located on the 1st floor of our hospital, KidsTRACK is designed to help families by providing expert assistance and information on all aspects of your child’s care, even before you leave our hospital or clinic.

A KidsTRACK care coordinator is available during every step of diagnosis, treatment and healing — helping your family make a smooth transition from Nemours Children's Hospital to home. Your coordinator works alongside the nursing/case managers in our subspecialty areas and acts as a single point of contact connecting you to medical and community resources.

Simply ask your physician for a referral to KidsTRACK
or call (407) 650-7715.

Learn More About KidsTRACK at Nemours Children's Hospital »