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Hyundai Cancer Institute :: Medical Concerns Pertaining to Cancer and Treatment
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All patients and their families are given a binder with specific information on their cancer treatment at the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s. With all of the information patients and families get regarding treatment, it's easy to forget to ask some of the basics while at appointments. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions our case coordinators get regarding the medical basics of cancers. Additional questions should be directed to the patient’s case coordinator or social worker. The phone numbers are intended for current Cancer Institute patients only.

 

I still have questions concerning my child’s medical treatment plan. Who should I talk to?
Our nurses and physicians are always available to answer questions. Case coordinators can help with any questions about the treatment plan and can also arrange for patients or caregivers to speak with the primary oncologist.  
 
 
What can I do about the weight gain (or loss) my child is experiencing?
For children who are underweight, our physicians and case coordinators can refer to our clinical dietitian who can develop a plan to promote healthy weight gain and growth. For children who need to lose weight and improve their fitness, please speak with the patient’s primary oncologist at the next scheduled clinic appointment or contact the patient’s case coordinator.
 
 
What does a positive culture mean?
A culture may be performed on blood, urine or other tissues or body fluids. A positive culture means that some type of organism (bacteria, virus, yeast, fungus) has been identified. If a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection is present, it is treated with antibiotics, antivirals or antifungals.
 
 
Will my child receive sedation prior to procedures?
If sedation is needed, the child may receive medication through a variety of different means. Sometimes, however, medication can be eliminated with the use of visual imagery and relaxation. The patient’s oncologist or case coordinator can discuss the variety of options available at CHOC.
 
 
What if a brother or sister becomes sick?
If the patient’s siblings or other immediate family member living in the home becomes ill, contact the clinic at (714) 509-8636. The clinic is open 8a.m. until 4:30p.m. and is closed for lunch from noon until 1p.m.  After hours and on weekends current patients may call (866) 316-3348.
 
 
What should I do if my child or my child’s sibling is exposed to or comes down with chickenpox? What happens?
If the child has never had chickenpox and spends time with another child (in a class or play situation) who subsequently develops chickenpox, call the oncologist within 24 hours.  Current patients and their families should contact the clinic at (714) 509-8636. The clinic is open 8a.m. until 4:30p.m. and is closed for lunch from noon until 1p.m. After hours and on weekends current patients may call (866) 316-3348.
 
Chickenpox is particularly dangerous to children receiving chemotherapy, especially if the patient has not previously had it. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy lowers the patient’s defense to infection. Precautions must be taken to try to prevent or lessen the outbreak.
 
If an exposure has taken place, and the child has not had chickenpox, the patient will receive an injection of varicella zoster immunoglobulin, which is given in an attempt to prevent the child from contracting the infection. If the patient is hospitalized after an exposure to chickenpox, and has not previously had the disease, he or she will be isolated from the other children. This is done as a precaution against exposing other children to chickenpox. If the patient has active chickenpox, he or she will be hospitalized in a negative pressure isolation room and will need to be on another floor so as to not expose other cancer patients. Chemotherapy will not be given until after he/she has recovered. The risk period is from one to three weeks after exposure.
 
If the patient has already had chickenpox, he or she may break out with shingles, a painful, itchy rash that looks like chickenpox and is caused by the same virus. Shingles is usually isolated to one area of the body such as the chest or back. If the child has shingles, notify the oncologist immediately. Treatment with anti-viral drugs is necessary, and the child will be hospitalized in a negative pressure isolation room or on another floor.
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