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Richard B. Womer, MD

Attending physician

Professor of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

I specialize in sarcomas, which are cancers of connective tissues (such as bones, muscles and tendons). I coordinate the evaluation of patients with sarcomas, supervise their chemotherapy and coordinate their treatment with surgeons, radiation oncologists and other specialists. I am the senior member of our sarcoma team, which has three physicians and a nurse practitioner.

When dealing with complicated diseases like sarcomas, it is important to take the time to do things right. Treating sarcomas involves lots of scans, tests, medicines and consultations with other professionals -- and families can find the process confusing and overwhelming. Many sarcoma patients are teenagers who are just beginning to gain their freedom, only to lose a lot of it as they become cancer patients. That is why it is important that I understand the patient and family, and that they understand what we are doing and why. We work to make the patient and family active participants in treatment.

I also specialize in medication and chemotherapy safety. Working closely with other physicians, nurses, pharmacists, computer specialists and others, I try to make the complex process of ordering and administering chemotherapy and other medicines as straightforward and safe as possible, both in the Cancer Center and in the hospital as a whole.

My research involves the development of sarcoma studies through the Children's Oncology Group, the world's largest childhood cancer research organization. I also work with biology researchers who are trying to combine clinical and biologic data to understand and treat sarcomas better.

At The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, we are fortunate to have people who study every variety of pediatric cancer in depth. Whether it's sarcoma or another cancer, there is someone in our division who is an expert and focuses their research on it -- and who knows other experts around the world. We also have nurses, child life specialists, nutritionists, social workers, physical therapists and others who specialize in treating children with cancer. That is a huge advantage for patients and families, and helps make CHOP a wonderful place to work.

 

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