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What tests does a pediatric hematologist oncologist perform?

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A pediatric hematologist-oncologist specializes in diagnosing and treating blood disorders and cancers in children. These specialists are skilled in managing conditions ranging from anemia and clotting disorders to leukemia and solid tumors. The tests they perform are diverse and depend on the specific symptoms and conditions being investigated. Here’s an overview of the types of tests a pediatric hematologist-oncologist might perform:

Blood Tests

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): Measures the levels of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in the blood.
  • Blood Chemistry Tests: Assess various chemicals and proteins in the blood to evaluate organ function and general health.
  • Coagulation Tests: Evaluate how well the blood clots, including tests like prothrombin time (PT) and activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT).
  • Blood Smear Examination: Looks at the shape, size, and characteristics of blood cells under a microscope.
  • Flow Cytometry: Identifies specific types of cells in the blood, often used in diagnosing leukemia and lymphoma.
  • Immunophenotyping: Determines the types of antigens or markers on the surface of blood cells, helping diagnose specific types of blood disorders.

Bone Marrow Tests

  • Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy: A sample of bone marrow is taken, usually from the hip bone, to look for abnormal cells or to determine how well the marrow is functioning.

Genetic Tests

  • Cytogenetic Analysis: Looks for changes in chromosomes that can indicate specific types of blood disorders or cancers.
  • Molecular Genetic Tests: Identify specific genes or pieces of DNA that can affect the risk or progression of cancer.

Imaging Tests

  • X-rays: Can identify abnormalities in bones or organs.
  • Ultrasound: Uses sound waves to create images of organs and tissues, useful for examining lymph nodes or organs for abnormalities.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: Provides detailed cross-sectional images of the body, which can help identify tumors or effects of some blood disorders.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Offers detailed images of organs and tissues, often used to look at the brain and spinal cord.
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan: Often combined with a CT scan (PET/CT), this test helps to pinpoint the location of cancerous cells in the body.

Lumbar Puncture (Spinal Tap)

  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Analysis: Checks for cancer cells or infections in the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Biopsies of Tumors or Lymph Nodes

  • Surgical removal or sampling of tissue from a suspected tumor or lymph node to examine under a microscope for cancer cells.

Conclusion

The specific tests ordered by a pediatric hematologist-oncologist will depend on the suspected condition and the individual patient’s symptoms and history. These tests are crucial for making an accurate diagnosis and determining the most effective treatment plan. Pediatric hematologist-oncologists work closely with a multidisciplinary team to provide comprehensive care tailored to the unique needs of children with blood disorders and cancer.

The Pediatric.me content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical advice of a physician