What Should You Ask Your Child’s Doctor About Childhood Leukemia?

It’s important to have open, honest discussions with your child’s cancer care team. They want to answer all of your questions, no matter how small they might seem. For instance, consider these questions:

  • What kind of leukemia does my child have?
  • Are there any specific factors that might affect my child’s prognosis?
  • Do we need 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?
  • Should we consider a stem cell transplant? When?
  • What do you recommend and why?
  • 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 and side effects of the treatments you recommend?
  • Which side effects start shortly after treatment and which ones might develop 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 will 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?
  • 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.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: April 17, 2015 Last Revised: February 3, 2016

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