What Should You Ask Your Doctor About Rhabdomyosarcoma?

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

  • What kind of rhabdomyosarcoma does my child have?
  • Has the tumor spread beyond where it started?
  • Do we need other tests before we can decide on treatment?
  • Which risk group does the cancer fall into, and what does that mean?
  • How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?
  • Will we need to see other doctors?
  • What are our treatment options?
  • Are there any clinical trials we might want to consider?
  • What do you recommend and why?
  • What are the risks and side effects to the suggested treatments?
  • Which side effects start shortly after treatment and which ones might develop later on?
  • Will treatment affect my child’s ability to grow and develop?
  • Could treatment affect my child’s ability to have children later on?
  • 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? Where will it be done?
  • How will treatment affect our daily lives (school, work, etc.)?
  • Based on what you’ve learned about the cancer, what is the outlook for cure?
  • What will we do if the treatment doesn’t work or if the cancer comes back?
  • What type of follow-up and rehab will be needed after treatment?

You might have other questions as well. For example, you might want to:

  • Ask about getting a second opinion as to the best treatment option.
  • Find out if the treatment schedule can be arranged so that your child will miss as little school as possible.
  • Ask how to explain what is happening with your child so that other family members and friends can understand.
  • Ask about support groups that might help you benefit from the experience of other families who have been through this.

Also keep in mind that doctors are not the only ones who can provide you with 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 our document The Doctor-Patient Relationship.

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: November 20, 2014 Last Revised: November 21, 2014

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