I work as a medical receptionist at a pediatric hospital on the hematolog/ oncology outpatient floor, where we also have kids coming in for infusions. I often hear terms that I really don't know what they mean, some I've figured out or asked the nurses in the back about and others leave me feeling like I need to google them once the parent leaves so I know what they were talking to me about! I am also a pre nursing student and have been in the medical field for quite some time in the adult world so I'm pretty comfortable with medical terms, but peds hem/onc is new to me so my question is (after all my babbling) what are some major terms that I might here from parents or patients that I should know or that you guys feel would make me relate better with them?
Heres an example, our patients come in for counts all the time, I know those are labs obviously but what does it mean in relation to this patient population, when they tell me their counts are up or down or what have you. What is a maintence cycle of chemo? etc... Plus anything else you guys can suggest I look up or should know would be awesome!
May 18, '12
Counts refer to their CBC results. Chemotherapy kills rapidly dividing cells so in addition to killing cancer, it kills blood cells. Oncology patients bottom out their counts 7-10 days after chemotherapy. This is when they become neutropenic (low white blood cell counts) and often when they require blood/platelet transfusions. Depending on the chemotherapy protocol, there are different phases of treatment. With leukemia, for example, they go through induction immediately after diagnosis until remission is achieved. After that, they enter maintenance chemotherapy for a period of 2-3 years. Maintenance chemo is the chemo given after remission is achieved- with certain cancers research has shown that treatment needs to continue for x amount of months to give the best chance that the cancer will not return. It's generally lower dose than the induction chemotherapy and is often given on an outpatient basis.