Our Hematology Program treats a wide range of blood disorders as well as cancer for children of all ages.
One disease that we treat fits into both groups: leukemia, cancer of the blood – the most common childhood cancer.
Children with any type of cancer may develop problems with their blood because of the treatments they need to receive. But many blood disorders have nothing to do with cancer.
They arise from other types of problems in the body. They include problems with red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, clotting factors and bone marrow, where the body makes blood cells.
What conditions do you treat?
Here are the main types of blood disorders that we diagnose and treat.
Red blood cell problems
These include many types of anemia, such as iron-deficiency anemia, thalassemia syndromes, hereditary spherocytosis and sickle cell anemia.
White blood cell problems
The most common white blood cell problem we treat is neutropenia, or low levels of white blood cells. It can range from mild to severe.
Platelet problems include a disease known as ITP, or immune thrombocytopenic purpura.
These are problems in which the blood does not clot well to stop bleeding. They include hemophilia, von Willebrand disease and other rare clotting problems.
These are problems in which blood clots form when or where they are not needed. There are many causes for thrombosis. Some people are born with a risk for excess clotting, called thrombophilia, because of genes passed down from their parents.
Bone marrow failure
Sometimes bone marrow stops working. In aplastic anemia, the bone marrow stops making stem cells, which develop into red and white blood cells and platelets. There are other forms of bone marrow failure, too. Learn about our Bone Marrow Failure Program.
Our hematology doctors, nurses and other team members can help children and their families in many ways, including diagnosis, testing, treatment and counseling.
We can diagnose a blood problem if your child has signs or symptoms that something may be wrong. Sometimes a blood problem is a symptom of some other illness. We work with doctors in other departments to help identify and treat these illnesses.
We can test your child for a blood problem that you know runs in the family. If your child has a blood problem that is inherited, we can test others in your family. We can also talk with you about the risk of having another child with the same condition.
We have a full range of current options to treat blood problems. The right treatments depend on your child, the condition, the severity and other factors. For example:
We can counsel you about the best ways to help your child recover from a blood problem. In the case of blood problems that cannot be cured, we can counsel you about the best ways to help your child live the healthiest, fullest life possible.
What's special about the Hematology Program at Children’s?
Our Hematology Program brings together healthcare professionals from many fields. We can address all aspects of your child's health.
Our goals are to achieve the best possible outcome for your child and to decrease the impact of the illness on your child's life. We work with you, your child, your family and your child's primary doctor to get your child the right care and services, even if you don't live nearby.
All of our attending physicians who work in the Hematology/Oncology Division – the division that handles blood disorders and cancer – are board-certified. This means they're approved to give the specialized care needed for these diseases.
For some of them, hematology is an area of special interest. These doctors work closely with other team members, such as physical therapists, orthopedic doctors, social workers, pain medicine specialists and doctors and staff in our specialized dental clinic to help meet your child's needs.
We are a Hemophilia Treatment Center, one of only three in Washington. We also work closely with the Puget Sound Blood Center for transfusion services and for patients who need specialized treatment with clotting factors.
Our Sickle Cell Program is based at our Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic in Seattle's Central District.
In the rare case when a child needs a hematopoietic cell transplant, we work closely with the Hematopoietic Cell Transplant Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance to provide this. Young patients who have a transplant spend their hospital stay in Children’s Cancer Care Unit.
Who needs the Hematology Program?
Children with blood problems and their families visit us for many reasons.
Some of them come for only one or two visits to get a diagnosis and advice about what the illness means for the child and family. Some need care from us only for the short term because the child has an illness that responds to treatment or simply heals over time. Some of our young patients have more complex blood problems that require lifelong treatment.
Whatever level of care your child needs, Seattle Children’s can help.