Many noncancerous pediatric blood disorders can threaten your child’s health or life, and Miami Cancer Institute’s hematology/oncology team is highly experienced in their diagnosis and treatment. We understand a child’s blood disorder can dramatically change your life and affect your family, and we’re here for you. We’ll make sure you and your family understand your child’s condition and how to help your child stay as healthy and active as possible, and offer support and resources to help you and your family adjust and cope. As Florida’s only member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Alliance, we’re committed to improving treatment and management of pediatric blood disorders and may be able to offer treatment methods that are not widely available elsewhere in the region.

What are pediatric blood disorders?

Pediatric blood disorders include a wide range of diseases and disorders that are most commonly diagnosed in childhood. These disorders can affect any component of the blood, including red or white blood cells, platelets, lymph nodes or blood vessels. Some are life-threatening; others may have few symptoms and cause few problems.

What are the types of pediatric blood disorders?

Some pediatric blood disorders commonly treated at Miami Cancer Institute include:

  • Sickle cell disease: a group of disorders that involve a protein called hemoglobin. Sickle cell disease can cause red blood cells to become sickle-shaped, in the form of a crescent. Because these cells can have trouble flowing through blood vessels, parts of the body may not receive enough blood. The diseases are most common in African Americans but can affect other ethnic groups.
  • A variety of anemias: conditions that arise when your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin.
  • Bleeding disorders: such as hemophilia and Von Willebrand disease, which can cause excessive or prolonged bleeding that can endanger life.

Rarer blood conditions are also be treated at Miami Cancer Institute, and we can also draw from the resources of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance to offer complete, multidisciplinary care and management.

What are the risk factors for pediatric blood disorders?

Risk factors vary by disorder.

Sickle cell disease is most common in certain ethnic groups, including:

  • African Americans (one in 12 carries a sickle cell gene)
  • Hispanic Americans from Central and South America
  • People of Middle Eastern, Asian, Indian and Mediterranean descent

Anemia risk factors can include:

  • A diet low in iron or other nutrients
  • Chronic bleeding or inflammation
  • Taking certain medicines or treatments, such as chemotherapy for cancer

Bleeding disorders are most commonly inherited.

What can you do to prevent pediatric blood disorders?

Some forms of anemia can be prevented with a healthy and balanced diet or with doctor-recommended supplements. But most blood disorders can not be prevented. You can take steps to help prevent complications, and our team will work closely with you to make sure you know how to best care for your child.

What screening tests are available for pediatric blood disorders?

Some blood disorders can be detected by screening.

Screening for sickle cell disease involves a blood test that checks for hemoglobin S, a defective form of hemoglobin. In the United States, this blood test is part of routine newborn screening.

Screening for anemia involves a blood test and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) between the ages of 9 to 12 months, with additional screening between the ages of 1 and 5 years for children at risk.

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