It Takes a Village to Nurture a Child with Cancer


The medical community has made great strides in treating childhood cancers over the past few decades, in no small part thanks to the contributions of donors such as Jeff Drobny, a Minnesota and Scottsdale, AZ-based financial executive and a principal at Black River Asset Management. Jeff Drobny and other donors’ ongoing support of the work of groups such as the American Cancer Society allows for new avenues in research into multiple types of cancers.

Equally important to treating cancer – perhaps particularly in children – is the work of the entire treatment team. A typical pediatric oncology team includes not only physicians, radiologists, and surgeons, but nurses with special training, psychotherapists and occupational therapists, social workers and family educators.

Today’s hospitals and treatment centers provide staff whose sole function is to meet regularly with families to answer questions, address concerns, and offer access to emotional and spiritual care. A pediatric oncology social worker, for example, understands how to assist parents in creating and implementing plans for dealing with diagnosis, paying for treatment, and helping their child – and themselves – deal with the social and emotional issues that arise in the healthiest way over the long term.


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