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Together is a new resource for anyone affected by pediatric cancer - patients and their parents, family members, and friends.

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Questions to Ask after Diagnosis

What questions should I ask?

After your child is diagnosed with cancer, it is a good idea to have a list of questions prepared for your child’s care team.

After your child is diagnosed with cancer, it is a good idea to have a list of questions prepared for your child’s care team.

It can be difficult to think of questions to ask when your child is diagnosed with cancer. So many other things are running through your mind.

Many parents say it is helpful to have a list of questions already prepared.

It is also a good idea to bring a notebook with you to write down important information. You may also want to bring someone with you to help with asking questions and taking notes.

The questions below can serve as a reference.


  • What type of cancer does my child have?
  • Can you explain my child’s pathology report (laboratory test results) and imaging results (such as CT, MRI, PET scan) to me?
  • What types of tests and procedures will my child need? How do we prepare for them?
  • Should I seek a second opinion? Can you help me obtain a second opinion?


  • What are my child’s treatment options?
  • What clinical trials are open to my child?
  • What treatment plan do you recommend? Why?
  • What is the goal of each treatment? Is it to eliminate the cancer, help my child feel better, or both?
  • Who will be part of my child’s care team? What does each member do?
  • When will my child begin treatment?
  • What else needs to happen before my child can begin treatment?
  • How long will it take to give this treatment?
  • Will my child need any special devices to help deliver therapies (such as a venous access catheter or feeding tube)? What can I expect from that?

Side effects

  • What are the possible short-term side effects of each treatment?
  • What are possible long-term side effects? What effects may appear later in my child’s life (late effects)?
  • What can be done to relieve the side effects?
  • How will this treatment affect my child’s daily life? Will he or she be able to go to school and participate in favorite activities?
  • Will the treatment affect my child’s normal growth and development?
  • Will treatment cause weight loss or weight gain?
  • Could this treatment affect my child’s ability to become pregnant or have children? If so, should my family talk with a fertility specialist before cancer treatment begins?


  • Who can help me with managing the costs of my child’s treatment?
  • What support services are available to my child? To my family?
  • Whom should we call with questions or problems?
  • What other questions should I be asking?

Reviewed: September 2018