Paediatric oncology - sub-specialty

Paediatric oncologists have specialist expertise in managing children with cancer. Find out more about this sub-specialty and its curriculum.

What makes a paediatric oncologist?

A paediatric oncologist is a doctor with specialist expertise in managing children with cancer. The cancer may be in any location or system, including the blood (leukaemia), brain or body. They care for children and young people and their families at all stages of treatment, from diagnosis to long-term follow-up or palliative care, and often maintain support for many years.

Paediatric oncologists work closely with haematologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, endocrinologists, and other oncologists, nationally and internationally, to ensure therapies are appropriate and effective. They work locally with psychologists, social workers and teachers to support patients and their families, ensuring that the burden of treatment is contained and that the long-term effects of treatment are minimised.

Evidence-based medicine is at its core, and oncology is characterised by the expectation that patients will be treated according to clinical trials whenever possible.

RCPCH Progress curriculum

As of 1 August 2018, sub-specialty trainees use the RCPCH Progress Level 3 Generic syllabus alongside the RCPCH Progress Paediatric Oncology Syllabus, which are available to download below.

Sub-specialty learning outcomes

In addition to the generic learning outcomes for level 3, paediatric oncology trainees must fulfil the following requirements:

  • Recognises, assesses and manages the full range of paediatric oncology conditions.
  • Assumes the role of oncology team leader and takes responsibility for this area of service, effectively managing and coordinating patient flow, staffing, safety and quality in the context of a paediatric oncology department.
  • Builds robust relationships with parents or carers and patients that will be sustainable for both parties throughout the cancer journey.
  • Understands the concepts of evidence-based medicine and clinical trials, and the cornerstones that they maintain in the field of paediatric oncology.

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