Pediatric Oncologist

When determining the best form of treatment for pediatric retinoblastoma, physicians will often refer a patient to a pediatric oncologist. A pediatric oncologist is a physician that specializes in cases of child cancer. It can be an advantage in treatment to have a single pediatric oncologist deal with a case of pediatric retinoblastoma from the time the child is diagnosed up through adolescence. A pediatric oncologist that has had experience with a case from the time of diagnosis may have special insight into the case and be able to provide feedback for treatment that may not be obvious to a doctor that has less experience with the particularities of a case.

Pediatric Oncologist Specialized Care

A pediatric oncologist has highly specialized qualifications, as treating children with cancer often requires very different treatment styles than treating adults with cancer. Many forms of pediatric cancer, including pediatric retinoblastoma, relate to issues with cell development. These developmentally stunted cells may respond differently to treatment than adult cancer cells. Although pediatric retinoblastoma has a high rate of curability, the treatment of child cancer is still in developmental phases. Pediatric oncologists are at the forefront of new research and treatment options.

Psychological Aspects of Pediatric Retinoblastoma Diagnosis

Pediatric oncologists also receive training in child psychology, as children may react and express fears and concerns differently than adults when diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. It is imperative that a patient be comfortable with a pediatric oncologist so that the oncologist can assess the success of treatment and recognize new pains or anxieties. Children may not understand the importance of sharing certain aspects of the condition with the oncologist, it is up to the pediatric oncologist to communicate effectively and ask the right questions.

Treatment of Retinoblastoma by a Pediatric Oncologist

The goals of a pediatric oncologist when treating a patient with retinoblastoma include:

  • Saving the child’s life
  • Ridding the child of cancer
  • Saving the eyes if possible
  • Preserving as much vision as possible
  • Avoiding or treating second or recurring tumors

Treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and cryotherapy may be used. A pediatric oncologist that was familiar with the patient prior to treatment will have a better feel for the success of the treatment. A pediatric oncologist may also be able to spot and combat side effects of treatment more effectively than an unfamiliar physician. Bringing the patient back to the same pediatric oncologist for subsequent check-ups will warrant a higher likelihood of changes in condition, including recurrent tumors, being identified early.


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“Retinoblastoma Treatment.” National Cancer Institute. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 24 Oct 2013. Web. 28 Nov 2013. <>.

“What is a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist?.” American Academy of Pediatrics, 11 May 2013. Web. 28 Nov 2013. <;.