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Hematology and Oncology Unit

The Hematology Oncology Clinic helps by providing specialized care for children and youth in the Maritimes who have, or may have, a blood disorder, vascular anomaly, cancer, or tumour. 

How we help

Some of the blood disorders we provide care for include hemophilia, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, or clotting problems. Childhood cancers include cancers of the blood (leukemia and lymphoma), and solid tumours such as brain, bone, kidney, soft tissue, nerve, and eye tumours. 

Patients with lumps or other symptoms see the specialists at the Hematology Oncology Clinic to help their family doctor or pediatrician determine what the problem may be. Frequently, it turns out to be neither a blood disorder nor a cancer.

Treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and biotherapy. Some of this may be provided in the clinic, however some may need to occur on the inpatient unit. As well, supportive care is an important part of the treatments we provide which includes blood product administration, drugs to minimize side effects, nutritional support, psychosocial support, physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

Children and adolescents who are diagnosed with one of these disorders will be assigned a Family Care Coordinator (FCC), a registered nurse who works to coordinate care and to provide teaching and support as well as the provision of other required care. The FCC will help patients and their families navigate their care here at the IWK and in their home communities. 

The IWK Hematology Oncology Team is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group—a world-wide research-based organization that designs treatment for childhood and adolescent cancers. This provides access to the most current advances in care and treatment. Other partnerships that enhance the care we provide include C17 (all Canadian centres that provide care to children/adolescents with cancer and blood disorders, and APPHON/ROHPPA (Atlantic Provinces Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Network.

What to expect

Our clinic is in the IWK Children’s Building, easily found by taking the blue elevators to the 6th floor. There is a registration desk at the entrance to the clinic where the clerk will confirm your information and provide your child with an armband required to receive care. 

To fully prepare for your child’s appointment, please bring along: 

  • your child's health card
  • your appointment letter
  • a complete list of medications and medication schedule
  • any medications needed during your visit
  • name and telephone number of your referring physician or family physician
  • private health insurance information (if applicable)
  • a list of questions you and/or your child may have for the physician 
  • formula/ breastmilk, diapers, change of baby clothes, or other necessities
  • toys and books  
  • a peanut-free snack for after the appointment if your child must fast (not eat anything) before testing

Please give yourself plenty of time to arrive at IWK Health. It can take up to 30 minutes to park your car, find your way to the clinic and register for your appointment. There are no drop-in appointments. You may need extra time if you are using the parking garage at the hospital. If you're running late or need to cancel an appointment, please call us at 902.470.6910.

Your child’s appointment may include a nurse appointment and/or a doctor appointment as well as meetings with other health professionals as needed. Your child’s FCC or clinic nurse will generally review the schedule for the day with you and your family. Depending on the complexity of the visit you may have received a phone call prior to arriving. Depending on the complexity of your child’s care, tests and clinic visits may be scheduled over two or more days. This may not include test/scan results. 

Who you’ll meet

We use an interdisciplinary team to provide treatment and support for patients and families. 

Registered Nurses 
They will care for your child during your visit. They'll meet you in the waiting area or assigned room and then will take you and your child to an area where information such as blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, height, and weight are assessed. They'll also ask about other pertinent information concerning your child’s health. The nurse may also provide treatment that your child requires.

Lab Technologists
They collect and analyze samples of blood, urine, and other specimens to help physicians in diagnosis and treatment.

Doctors
There are many doctors who are specialized in the care of children with cancer and blood disorders. You’ll probably meet several of them while your child is being treated here.

Child Life Specialists
They help your child understand and cope with their reaction to their diagnosis and treatment.

Clinical Pharmacists
They help you understand the medications that your child will be given, if required.

Clinical Dietitians
They help keep your child well nourished when they're ill and give you suggestions on how to do this when you are at home.

Social Workers
They're trained to help you and your child cope with illness and hospitalization through counselling, support groups, financial assistance and resource referral.

Accessing this Clinic, Program or Service

Children’s Building -IWK Health Centre

If you have parked in the parking garage you'll enter the IWK through the Children’s Building. You’ll be screened at the entrance. Then proceed to the blue elevators. Go up to the 6th floor and look for the sign that says “Hematology Oncology Clinic” (6 North Clinic). If you have questions about your visit, the clinic phone number is 902-470-8819, then follow the prompts.

5850/5980 University Avenue
Halifax , Nova Scotia