Caring for Your Child with Cancer

There are many people who care for your child while he is being treated for cancer at the Aflac Cancer Center.

  • Attending Physician (Oncologist): A doctor who specializes in cancer and supervises the medical care of your child.
  • Fellow: A doctor who has completed medical school and a pediatric residency and is now receiving specialty training in pediatric hematology, oncology, and blood and marrow transplantation.
  • House Officer or Resident: A doctor who has completed medical school and is now receiving specialty training in pediatrics. He assists the primary doctor in caring for your child while in the inpatient unit.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist or Nurse Practitioner: A nurse who has completed a master’s program and specialty training in caring for children with cancer. She coordinates the medical and nursing care of your child.
  • Nurse: The person in the unit or at the clinic who provides daily nursing care and teaching.
  • Psychiatrist: A doctor who can help you and your child cope with feelings of anger, fear or depression that you or your child may have during this time.
  • Psychologist: A nonmedical doctor who can help you and your child cope with the stress of cancer and help you find ways to deal with the stress. A neuropsychologist also can test your child’s thinking abilities.
  • Nutritionist: The person who follows your child’s weight and nutritional needs each day. He also will help to provide teaching and support about nutrition when your child goes home.
  • Pharmacist: The person who prepares and dispenses medicines.
  • Physical Therapist: A person who helps your child maintain a level of fitness through strength and endurance exercises.

Family Support Team

The Family Support Team is a group of people who have special training to help answer questions and offer emotional support during diagnosis and treatment of pediatric cancer.

  • Chaplain : The chaplain is on hand to offer support based on each family’s spiritual need. We also offer a mid-week and Sunday chapel service to patients and families as they seek meaning, healing and hope through the experiences of illness and hospitalization.
  • Child Life : Child life specialists are people who are trained to know how children develop and respond to illness. The goal of child life is to help children cope with illness. Child life specialists use play and other activities to do this. Through play, children can talk about their feelings, make friends and learn to feel safe in the hospital. Child life can help patients and their siblings by offering:
    • Education about cancer, procedures and surgery
    • Group activities
    • Ways to cope with fear and pain
  • Social worker : A professional who provides guidance and counseling to help you and your family. He also can help you with emotional support, financial concerns, travel, housing and follow-up care after discharge. All pediatric blood and marrow transplant (BMT) patients are seen by a social worker.

  • Hospital teacher : A Georgia-certified teacher will help your child keep up with school work while in the hospital. The hospital teachers work with any child in kindergarten through 12th grade. A teacher or volunteer will teach your child in his room and also will arrange home-bound teaching for children in public schools.