Hyundai Cancer Institute
Day-to-day Life with Cancer
Along with a cancer diagnosis come numerous questions and worries about the ins and outs of everyday life. Although 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, the information below can be helpful with some of the most frequently asked questions our case coordinators get about day-to-day life with cancer.The phone numbers are intended for current Cancer Institute patients only.
We encourage children to be as active as they can tolerate. Playing with other children is acceptable as long as those children do not have a contagious illness at the time. Approximately 7 to 10 days after a course of chemotherapy, when the blood cell count drops to its lowest point (nadir), it is important to take more precautions to avoid people who may be ill. It is better take children undergoing treatment to play in open-air places like parks instead of enclosed places like shopping malls, theaters, and the like. If the patient has never had chickenpox and is exposed to chickenpox when playing with other children, notify the oncologist within 24 hours.
The Child Life staff at CHOC Children’s is trained to help children cope with these types of concerns. A child life specialist is always in the outpatient infusion clinic and available in the hospital if the child is admitted.
CHOC Children’s Child Life staff is available to help with the transition back to school with our S.E.A.S. (Student Education and Support) program. Our specialists offer school or classroom presentations to help ease the transition. At the school, we can educate students and teachers so that they can understand what the patient has experienced. We offer the child the chance to “be the expert” and talk about his or her experience and answer questions (if the child is comfortable doing this). Our ultimate goal is to clear up misconceptions and rumors as well as encourage classmates to be supportive.
We use age appropriate videos, books, pictures/illustrations geared toward helping students understand their classmates' situation in a non-threatening way. Current patients and their families who would like a presentation or have additional questions may call (714) 509-8473.
Our Cancer Institute Social Services department can provide resources based on the patient and family’s needs. Contact the patient’s social worker for more information and resources.
We offer our patients and their families with helpful psychosocial and child life services. Our case coordinators can provide information on our specific services.
Current patients who need a same day appointment should contact the Clinic Appointment Desk at (714) 509-8636. The clinic is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and is closed for lunch from noon until 1 p.m. Calls received during the lunch break will go to voice mail. If the child is ill, please be certain to go to the “isolation waiting room.”
Our social workers can provide a list of support groups and other resources for both patients and their families.