Pediatric Blood Disorders | Miami Cancer Institute | Baptist Health South Florida
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 Pediatric Blood Disorders

If you are referred to a pediatric hematologist/oncologist because your child has a problem with his or her blood, you might think your child has cancer when that is not actually the case.

While pediatric hematologists/oncologists do treat children with cancer, they also care for kids who have diseases of the blood cells and bleeding disorders. Some types of blood disorders are life-threatening; others cause few symptoms, do little harm and rarely impact daily life. 

​Blood disorders can involve problems with any component of the blood ― red or white blood cells, platelets, blood vessels or lymph nodes; or, they can be bleeding disorders that involve clotting. Each component of the blood has a specific job within our bodies. For example, red blood cells move oxygen from the lungs to the organs and tissues throughout the body, while white blood cells help fight infection. No matter what type of blood disorder is affecting your child, the healthcare team at Miami Cancer Institute will work closely with you, your child and your family to provide a customized treatment plan.

Some of the most common blood problems treated at Miami Cancer Institute are sickle cell disease, a variety of anemias and bleeding disorders such as hemophilia and Von Willebrand Disease, which can involve excessive or prolonged bleeding. Other, rarer, blood conditions can also be treated at Miami Cancer Institute. Your medical team will answer all of your questions and explain your child’s condition thoroughly.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

There’s a wide range of treatment options for children with blood disorders. These include medications, surgery, blood transfusions and stem cell transplants. To diagnose and better analyze your child’s condition ― and help determine the best treatment ― your child’s doctor will complete a thorough medical history and may order a number of tests. Because there is no single way to treat blood disorders, your child’s testing and care plan may be very different from another child’s, even if they have the same problem.

The most common tests, depending on the type of blood disorder suspected, are:

  • Blood tests, such as a complete blood cell count, red and white blood cell counts, and tests to determine levels of hemoglobin and iron ―​ blood clotting tests may also be performed
  • Thyroid function tests
  • Vitamin level tests
  • Urine tests
  • Bone marrow aspiration and/or biopsy

Results of the tests will help your doctor develop a customized treatment plan for your child.

At Miami Cancer Institute, the comprehensive treatment of your child involves numerous specialists. You may see several pediatric physicians, oncologists, surgeons and radiation experts, as well as nurses, dietitians, therapists and social workers. We understand that this can be a confusing and stressful time for every family member, and we are here to help.

A number of considerations determine the treatment your child will receive. Your child’s age and overall health; how sick she or he is; how well your child can tolerate medications, procedures and therapies; and how long the condition is expected to last all impact the treatment decision. In addition, for each type of blood disorder, there’s a variety of treatments. For anemia, for example, treatment may include vitamin and mineral supplements, change in diet, medication, blood transfusions, surgery to remove the spleen, antibiotics or a bone marrow transplant. A child with hemophilia may receive special medications to help raise the amount of factor 8 in the blood, or receive replacement therapy, in which concentrations of clotting factor are dripped or injected into a vein as an ongoing treatment or on demand during a bleeding episode.

A customized treatment plan will be developed for your child, and the team at Miami Cancer Institute will explain all of your options.