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3 Questions to Ask Your Child’s Pediatric Oncologist

Mom with Child at DoctorWhen your child receives a cancer diagnosis from a pediatric oncologist, questions about what to expect are common. It can be a confusing subject, especially when faced with the uncertainty that it introduces into your family’s life.

Here are three questions for you to ask your pediatric oncologist if your child is diagnosed with cancer.

1. What Tests Are Necessary?

Testing is necessary to understand more about the type and extent of the cancerous cells present in your child’s body. Doctors use a variety of tests when they study a child’s cancer. The specific tests depend on the type of cancer your child’s pediatric oncologist suspects.

Blood and urine tests are common, and a biopsy is the only way to know for sure that your child has cancer. A biopsy is the removal and study of a small piece of the cancerous tissue from your child’s body.

2. How Serious Is the Cancer?

Cancer occurs when cells divide or grow abnormally, so its growth occurs as a gradual process. Pediatric oncologists use a number system that ranges from zero to four to describe the spread of cancer throughout a body.

A lower score indicates the cancer has not spread and is still in its early form, while a higher score indicates the cancer has spread in the body and has reached a critical level.

Stage four cancer indicates it is very serious and has spread from the original location to other locations in the body.

3. What Are the Treatment Options?

The cancer treatment plan will depend on the specific needs of your child. However, the main types of treatment for cancer are:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation treatments
  • Chemotherapy
  • Drug therapy

The combination of treatments your child’s pediatric oncologist chooses will depend on the type and stage your child’s cancer.