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Change the Course: Advanced Options for Your High-Risk Patients

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When There's No Roadmap

When a relapse occurs, often times a second opinion can families and their physicians uncover new options.

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This video series is designed to help referring oncologists and families better understand the different treatment options for patients with difficult or hard to treat cancers. As one of the largest pediatric cancer programs in the country, the Cancer Center at CHOP has dedicated teams of specialists, with focused experience on a certain type of cancer, and often times can offer patients access to certain therapies and protocols, that can’t be found elsewhere. The Center works with oncologists and families from all over the world to integrate some of these therapies into their existing treatment programs at home, to create a stronger treatment plan that works for the families.

Transcript: When There's No Roadmap

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Thomas W. McLean, MD: I feel confident that we can treat just about any type of pediatric cancer that comes through our doors. But there are occasionally innovative or new protocols, new drugs that we don't have available here, even from the outset, that we consider referral to other institutions. I personally welcome second opinions.

I think the more opinions we have the better because I'm always learning and I think that there are obviously new and better treatments being developed all the time, and if our patients can benefit from those, I am all for them.

Erin Chance, Mother of Patrick: We were kind of excited about trying a new therapy because the first time we actually talked to the doctor about going to CHOP was in late 2006 because that was when Patrick's marrow hadn't cleared, after induction therapy. So there wasn't really a road plan for us to follow if we weren't going to follow the normal course of treatment for his type of cancer.

Frank M. Balis, MD: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is one of the largest cancer centers in the country and I think the most important thing as a physician, in terms of knowing how best to manage a patient, comes from experience.

So the more patients that a physician sees, the more one knows about the oddities or the exceptions that can occur in patients in terms of determining what the best therapy is for that patient and managing that. And so we like to think that because of the experience here, we have something to offer to physicians who may be at smaller hospitals in terms of the numbers of patients that they've seen and we're happy to provide that expertise.

Rochelle Bagatell, MD: Many times we'll see a patient for a second opinion and agree completely with the recommendations of the treating physician.

And in that case, I think the patient and family feel more confident pursuing the road that had been recommended and oftentimes we'll have a nice dialogue with the treating physician who may also walk away feeling confident in their treatment plans.

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