My teenage children are mortified that I am participating in a “blog”, which to them marks me as a middle-aged techno-wannabe. My hope, however, is that this will enable me to engage in conversations about healthcare with people outside of my usual sphere of influence. I am a pediatric oncologist, or children’s cancer specialist. I care for children with many kinds of cancer, and have a particular interest as well in complementary and alternative therapies, also called integrative medicine (IM). Individuals who have cancer or other life threatening disorders are more likely than other individuals to explore the world of IM, and parents of children who have cancer feel that they should leave no stone unturned in looking for treatments which might help their kids.
The Internet is a great tool for disseminating information about all sorts of health issues, but a lot of the information, especially about cancer treatments, is not very reliable. I consider my role to be trying to help people sort through all that information, learn how to navigate the various websites and get credible information that they can use to make good decisions for their children.
Pediatric hematology/oncology is considered a “sub-specialty.” Those of us who are hematologist/oncologists go through medical school, then do a pediatric residency and then do a three year fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology. Because children’s cancers and adult cancers are very different, the training for adult and pediatric oncologists is very different as well.
I have been an oncologist for 20 years, and have been medical director of the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota Pediatric Hematology-Oncology program for the last seven years. I am married and have three children, aged 21, 16 and 14. I’ve learned a lot about pediatrics from being a mom, and those experiences filter through my dealings with patients as well.
So, as we embark on this techno-healthcare-adventure, leave a comment below to let me know what you want to read about in the Kids’ Health Blog. I can (hopefully) speak fairly knowledgeably about children’s cancer and integrative medicine, but you’ll learn that I am very opinionated about lots of things and happy to chat about just about anything!