Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors in Children

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Treating Brain/CNS Tumors In Children TOPICS

More treatment information

For more details on treatment options – including some that may not be addressed in this document – the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and CureSearch are good sources of information.

The NCI provides treatment guidelines via its telephone information center (1-800-4-CANCER) and its Web site ( Detailed guidelines intended for use by cancer care professionals are also available on

CureSearch is a combined effort of the National Childhood Cancer Foundation and the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). CureSearch can be contacted via telephone at 1-800-458-6223 or on the Web at

What should you ask your doctor about your child’s brain or spinal cord tumor?

It is important for you to have honest, open discussions with your child’s cancer care team. They want to answer all of your questions, no matter how minor you might think they are. Here are some questions to consider:

  • What kind of tumor does my child have?
  • Where is the tumor located, and how far has it spread?
  • Do we need to have other tests done before we can decide on treatment?
  • Are there other doctors we need to see?
  • How much experience do you have treating this type of tumor?
  • What are our treatment options? What do you recommend? Why?
  • What are the possible risks and side effects of treatment?
  • How might treatment affect my child’s ability to learn, grow, and develop?
  • Will treatment affect my child’s future ability to have children?
  • What should we do to be ready for treatment?
  • How long will treatment last? What will it involve? Where will it be done?
  • How will treatment affect our daily activities?
  • Based on what you’ve learned about my child’s tumor, what is the expected prognosis (outlook)?
  • What will we do if the treatment doesn’t work or if the tumor comes back?
  • What type of follow-up will my child need after treatment?
  • Are there nearby support groups or other families who have been through this that we could talk to?

Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down any others you might want to ask. For instance, you might want information about recovery times so you can plan your work and your child’s school and activity schedule. Or you may want to ask about second opinions concerning the diagnosis and treatment options, or about clinical trials for which your child may qualify.

Last Medical Review: 03/22/2013
Last Revised: 01/31/2014