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

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A Confident Choice

When families choose to come to CHOP we hold their hands through both the medical and the psychological aspects of treating their cancer.

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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: A Confident Choice

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Thomas W. McLean, MD: It's really a privilege to be able to be involved with these families and to take care of these children, and it's so important that the families feel good about the care.

Erin Chance, Mother of Patrick: At CHOP it's always been easy and smooth and it's never a concern for me that I'm going to get here and things aren't going to be done right. And my experience has been fabulous. They're immediately going to put you at ease. They're going to make you feel comfortable, and they will also help the parents acclimate to a new environment. They will make sure that you know what you're doing, where you're going, and what's expected of you at all times. And I've never, ever had a problem one time with the relationship between our home doctor and the team here at CHOP.

Rochelle Bagatell, MD: CHOP is big, but we work very hard as a team to bring the place down to size, and to sort of hold the patient and family's hand as they walk through all the different areas of the hospital and of our own oncology division. A patient can expect to be sort of wrapped in our arms in some ways because the nurses and physicians and child life people... everybody is there specifically because they want to take care of children with cancer, and they know how hard the experience can be and they're at the ready to help.

Ellen Tracy, RN: I think when families come from another center, they've already had that initial shock. Now they're in a new cancer center trying to integrate, and we want to understand where the family is, what they already know. We want to say, "How's your cancer journey been so far? What can we do to meet your needs? How can we help you where you are now?" We expect people are going to be scared and anxious and impatient. You know, when your child is sick, you're not at your best – and we don't need you to be at your best. We're going to accept your family wherever they are and help you through it.

Anne Reilly, MD: Cancer is a big challenge. And it's such an unexpected and really hard thing for a child to go through, that if you can help a child and a family get through both the medical and sort of the psychological aspects of getting through their cancer, treating cancer and getting over it, you know, you've set them up to have the rest of their life feeling normal. And that's a really neat thing to be able to do.

John M. Maris, MD: We're very encouraged by the pace of discovering the way things are moving very quickly. At the center of it all is the child, and we are very much tuned in to the fact that these children have very different past histories, different amounts of side effects that they've had, different social situations and so there's not a one-size-fits-all approach to this here. So balancing innovative treatment with quality of life is something that is central to every recommendation we make.

Frank M. Balis, MD: I think what's also hopeful to me here at this hospital is knowing that discoveries will be made here that'll impact on children who develop cancer in the future and improve even further the treatments that we have available.

Erin Chance, Mother of Patrick: I would tell other referring physicians about our relationship with CHOP in the sense that they're not going to lose their patient. We are still fully committed to our home institution and we more look at the relationship between Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia as a collaboration. And I truly believe that they view it that way as well, that they're partners working towards a goal. And you can't really ask for more than that.

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