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Thursday, Oct 17 2013 11:52 AM

'First Look': Pediatric oncology team coming to Bakersfield

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    Dr. Ravi Patel, medical director of Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center, talks about the center's new pediatric oncology partnership on "First Look with Scott Cox."

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Bakersfield parents who have been traveling to Los Angeles for their children's cancer treatment and appointments will soon have another option.

On Nov. 20, the Bakersfield Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center will debut its first pediatric oncology team in partnership with the UCLA School of Medicine.

"It's hard for children with cancer to travel and it's hard on their family so we wanted to be more considerate to those families," Dr. Ravi Patel, CBCC medical director, said Thursday on "First Look with Scott Cox."

Several pediatric oncologists will be available once a week from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. In the future, more days each week will become available, Patel said.

Simulcast host Scott Cox asked Patel why Bakersfield does not have full-time pediatric oncologists.

"There was not enough work for them to be full time but now that the population is growing, we will have a full-time pediatric oncologist here," Patel said.

On Wednesday, several UCLA oncologists visited Bakersfield and Patel said they look forward to lending their help -- and are excited to get away from Los Angeles.

So, Cox asked, will we ever hear the words "there's no more cancer?"

Patel said science and research is evolving, bringing new hope for children battling cancer.

For example, there is currently a treatment for lymphoma that targets a specific gene and like a light bulb, switches off that cancer gene, he said.


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