Astrocytoma - Childhood: Questions to Ask the Doctor

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 03/2015

ON THIS PAGE: You will find some questions to ask your child’s doctor or other members of the health care team, to help you better understand your child’s diagnosis, treatment plan, and overall care. To see other pages in this guide, use the colored boxes on the right side of your screen, or click “Next” at the bottom.

Talking often with the doctor is important to make informed decisions about your child’s health care. These suggested questions are a starting point to help you learn more about your child’s care and treatment. You are also encouraged to ask additional questions that are important to you. You may want to print this list and bring it to your child’s next appointment, or download Cancer.Net’s free mobile app for an e-list and other interactive tools to manage your child’s care.

Questions to ask after getting a diagnosis

  • Where exactly is the astrocytoma located?
  • What is the grade of the tumor? What does this mean?
  • What is your familiarity with my child’s tumor type and its treatment?
  • Can you explain my child’s pathology report (laboratory test results) to me?

Questions to ask about choosing a treatment and managing side effects

  • What treatment options are available?
  • Are there other treatment options available at other cancer centers?
  • What clinical trials are open to my child? Where are they located, and how do I find out more about them?
  • What treatment plan do you recommend? Why?
  • What is the goal of each treatment? Is it to eliminate the tumor, help my child feel better, or both?
  • Who will be part of my child’s health care team, and what does each member do?
  • Who will be coordinating my child’s overall treatment?
  • What are the possible side effects of this treatment?
  • How will this treatment affect my child’s daily life? Will he or she be able to go to school and perform his or her usual activities?
  • Could this treatment affect my child’s ability to become pregnant or have children in the future? If so, should I talk with a fertility specialist before treatment begins?
  • If I’m worried about managing the costs related to my child’s medical care, who can help me with these concerns?
  • What support services are available to my child? To my family?
  • Whom should I call for questions or problems?
  • Is there anything else I should be asking?

Questions to ask about surgery

  • What type of surgery will my child have?
  • How long will the operation take?
  • How long will my child be in the hospital?
  • Can you describe what recovery from surgery will be like?
  • What are the possible long-term effects of surgery?

Questions to ask about radiation therapy and chemotherapy

  • What type of treatment is recommended?
  • What is the goal of this treatment?
  • How long will it take to give this treatment?
  • What side effects can I expect during treatment?
  • What are the possible long-term effects of having this treatment?
  • What can be done to relieve the side effects?

Questions to ask about planning follow-up care

  • What is the risk of the tumor returning? Are there signs and symptoms I should watch for?
  • What long-term side effects or late effects are possible based on the treatment my child received?
  • What follow-up tests will my child need, and how often will he or she need them?
  • How do I get a treatment summary and survivorship care plan to keep in my personal records? 
  • Who will be coordinating my child’s follow-up care?
  • What survivorship support services are available to my child? To my family?

The next section in this guide is Additional Resources, and it offers some more resources on this website beyond this guide that may be helpful to you. Or, use the menu on the side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.