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Kids and Cancer

THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ADULT AND CHILD CANCER CARE

“The pediatric cancer patient is never an individual, but is looked at in the context of the family,” says Dr. Leonard Sender, explaining the need for a family-centered treatment approach with young cancer patients. “Kids have siblings. They have parents. We try to understand that patient as a child, or teen, or young adult, but we also understand how they fit into their family and the family dynamics. In adult medicine, the family’s wishes are often secondary to the patient’s wishes. In pediatrics, they can be equal or overshadowed. A three-year-old can’t define what they want to do but with teens, we try to find the balance between the patient’s and the parent’s wishes.”

DEVELOPMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS

Pediatric cancer patients are classified in one of three major groups: young children, tweens/early teens and teens/young adults, says Dr. Sender. Developmental issues and stages of the child’s growth, including in utero before birth, are considered. “We think of adult cancers as the consequences of living your life. In childhood, it really is more about developmentally what is going on. Sometimes the cause is unknown,” says Dr. Sender.

CARE WITH COMFORT

Children with cancer are not just considered “little adults” in terms of care. “We want them to still be children,” says Dr. Sender. “We make sure that we provide an environment that is nurturing and comforting to the family. This is very stressful for these families. We are always thinking of that. We have a team-centered approach. We have oncologists, social workers, psychologists, child life experts and others all working to provide the young patient with as normal of a life as possible while they are being treated. CHOC is truly committed. It’s our passion. We want to deliver the most advanced treatment we can.”

DO TEENS AND YOUNG ADULTS HAVE UNIQUE ISSUES RELATED TO THEIR CANCER TREATMENT?

Adolescents and young adults into their late 30s who are being treated for cancer face a wide range of issues that need to be considered to help them cope. These issues include fertility preservation, the development of body image, career and education considerations, and dealing with an increased dependence on parents at a time when many in this age group strive to be more independent.

FAST FACTS

  • The incidence of childhood cancers (up to age 15) that are diagnosed as leukemia: 1/3
  • The number of pediatric cancer cases (up to age 15) diagnosed annually in the U.S.: 14,000

Meet Dr. Sender - CHOC Oncologist

Dr. Leonard Sender is the medical director at the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s and director of clinical operations and program development at the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UC Irvine Medical Center. He also is a professor of medicine at UC Irvine. Dr. Sender completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at UC Irvine Medical Center and had a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. Dr. Sender has twice been named a “Top Doctor” by U.S. News & World Report. He serves as board chairman of the “Stupid Cancer” Foundation and is a founding member and chairman of SeventyK.org, an adolescent cancer advocacy organization.

Dr. Sender’s philosophy of care: “I take a patient-centric approach and treat young patients as people, while understanding the context in which they get cancer. My goals are to cure the cancer and achieve a meaningful survivorship.”

EDUCATION
Medical school at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa

BOARD CERTIFICATIONS
Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Leonard Sender

A Chat With Dr. Sender

The adolescent and young adult cancer movement has helped define patients by age rather than disease and raise awareness of the population’s unique needs, Dr. Leonard Sender, medical director of the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s, tells “The Huffington Post.”

Genomic Cancer Research

In this segment of American Health Journal, Dr. Leonard Sender, Medical Director of Hyundai Cancer Insititute at CHOC Children’s, explains genomic cancer research and how identifying the specific medicines that work on a child’s disease is a challenge.

The Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s

Helping Adolescents and Helping Adolescents and Young Adults Cope with Cancer

There’s never a good time for a cancer diagnosis, but the teen and young adult years can be an especially tough time for cancer patients. Adolescents and young adults into their 30s who are being treated for cancer face a wide range of issues special to their age group that need to be considered to help them cope. These issues include fertility preservation, the development of body image, career and education considerations, and dealing with an increased dependence on parents at a time when many in this age group strive to be more independent.

health-helping-adolescents-young-adults-cope-cancer

Knowledge is the best medicine. Learn more about your child's health in these features from the experts at CHOC.

Kids and Bedwetting
Bedwetting occurs more frequently in boys than in girls, and the problem usually stops once the child is motivated and ready to work on staying dry.


Kids and PICS
Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) encompasses the physical, cognitive and mental health issues affecting survivors of critical illness.


Kids and Asthma
Asthma can be hard to diagnose in a young child and the symptoms can be mistaken for another illness. Children with asthma often have other conditions.


The experts at CHOC Children’s and CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital in partnership with the Orange County Register have developed this site to provide you with the information you need to help keep your children healthy. From immunizations to broken bones, we’re here to provide answers to some of parenting’s most common, and not-so-common, questions.

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UC Irvine

CHOC Children's is affiliated with the UC Irvine School of Medicine