Childhood Leukemia Overview

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Talking With Your Doctor TOPICS

What are some questions you can ask the doctor about childhood leukemia?

We encourage you to have honest, open talks with your child’s cancer care team. Feel free to ask any question, no matter how small it might seem. Here are some questions you might want to ask:

  • Would you write down exactly what kind of leukemia my child has?
  • Are there any factors that might affect my child’s outlook?
  • Do we need any other tests before we can decide on treatment?
  • Are there other doctors we need to see?
  • How much experience do you have treating this type of leukemia?
  • Should we get a second opinion? Can you recommend someone?
  • What are our treatment choices?
  • What do you recommend and why?
  • Should we think about a stem cell transplant?
  • How soon do we need to start treatment?
  • What should we do to be ready for treatment?
  • How long will treatment last? What will it be like?
  • How much of the treatment will need to be done in the hospital?
  • How will treatment affect our daily lives (school, work, etc.)?
  • What are the risks or side effects of the treatments you recommend?
  • Which side effects start shortly after treatment and which ones may happen later on?
  • Will treatment affect my child’s ability to learn, grow, and develop?
  • Will treatment affect my child’s future ability to have children?
  • What are the chances of curing the leukemia?
  • What would our options be if the treatment doesn’t work or if the leukemia comes back?
  • What type of follow-up will we need after treatment?
  • How will we pay for treatment? Will our insurance cover all or part of it?
  • Can we talk to support groups or other families who have been through this?

Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down your own. For instance, you might want to ask if your child qualifies for any clinical trials. You may also want to ask about the typical costs of treatment, and what is likely to be covered by insurance.

Also keep in mind that doctors are not the only ones who can give you information. Other health care professionals, such as nurses and social workers, may have the answers to some of your questions. You can find out more about speaking with your health care team in Talking With Your Doctor.

Last Medical Review: 05/13/2015
Last Revised: 02/03/2016