Questions to ask about your child’s cancer treatment


About treatment for this type of cancer

  • What treatment(s) are available for the type of cancer that my child has?
  • What treatment(s) do you recommend for my child? Why?
  • What is the goal of this treatment?
  • How will the treatment be given? What happens during a treatment session?
  • How does this treatment work?
  • What are the risks of this treatment?
  • What are the next steps if my child’s cancer does not respond to this treatment?
  • About what percentage of children receiving this treatment are helped by it?

About the treatment schedule

  • How often will my child receive treatment? How long will each treatment last?
  • Where will treatment be given? For example, will my child receive in-patient or out-patient treatment? Will hospital stays be needed?
  • How many treatments will my child receive? How long will the entire treatment plan last?

About side effects and supportive services

  • How do children who go through this type of treatment feel—both physically and emotionally?
  • What supportive care and complementary practices (such as music therapy, acupuncture, physical therapy, and guided imagery) are available to help my child feel better?
  • What side effects may happen during treatment? How long will these side effects last?
  • How will the health care team work to reduce these side effects? What can I do to help my child feel better?
  • What permanent or lasting side effects might my child have after treatment is completed?
  • Will my child’s fertility be affected? What are the options to preserve my child’s fertility?

About making a decision

  • When do we need to choose a type of treatment?
  • When does my child need to start treatment?
  • What procedures should my child have before starting treatment, for example, should my child have a dental check-up? Should my child and others in the family receive or avoid any vaccines?

Questions to ask about medical tests and procedures

  • What test(s) or procedure(s) will my child have?
  • What is the purpose of this test?
  • Is there anything that my child needs to do to prepare?
  • What will happen during the test?
  • What will be done to help my child cope emotionally before and during the test?
  • What are the risks?
  • Where will the test be done?
  • How long will it take? Will my child be awake during the test?
  • Will it hurt? If so, how will pain be prevented or lowered?
  • When will we know the results?

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