It’s important to have honest, open discussions with your child’s cancer care team. Ask any question on your mind, no matter how small it might seem. Below are some questions to consider:
If the tumor has been biopsied
- What kind of kidney cancer does my child have? Is it a Wilms tumor?
- Is the histology of the tumor favorable or anaplastic?
- What is the stage of my child’s cancer, and what does that mean?
- Do we need any other tests before we can decide on treatment?
- How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?
- Will we need to see other doctors?
- Who else will be on the treatment team, and what do they do?
When deciding on a treatment plan
- What are our treatment options?
- Are there any clinical trials we might want to consider?
- What do you recommend and why?
- Should we get a second opinion? How do we do that? Can you recommend a doctor or cancer center?
- What are the risks and side effects of 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?
- Will my child have a higher long-term risk of kidney problems or other cancers?
- 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.)?
During and after treatment
Once treatment begins, you’ll need to know what to expect and what to look for. Not all of these questions may apply, but getting answers to the ones that do may be helpful.
- How will we know if the treatment is working?
- Is there anything we can do to help manage side effects?
- What symptoms or side effects should we tell you about right away?
- How can we reach you or someone on your team on nights, weekends, or holidays?
- Who can we talk to if we have questions about costs, insurance coverage, or social support?
- What are the chances of the cancer coming back after treatment? What might our options be if this happens?
- What type of follow-up will my child need after treatment?
Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down any others you might have. For instance, you might want more information about recovery times so you can plan your school or work schedules. You might also want to ask about nearby or online support groups, where you may be able to get in touch with other families who have been through this.
Also keep in mind that doctors aren't 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 The Doctor-Patient Relationship.