Neuroblastoma - Childhood: Coping with Side Effects

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 04/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about steps to take to help cope with physical, social, and emotional side effects. This page includes several links outside of this guide to other sections of this website. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Cancer and its treatment can cause a variety of side effects. However, doctors have made major strides in recent years in reducing pain, nausea and vomiting, and other physical side effects of cancer treatments. Many treatments used today are less intensive but as effective as treatments used in the past. Doctors also have many ways to provide relief to patients when such side effects occur.

Fear of treatment side effects is common after a diagnosis of a tumor, but it may be helpful to know that preventing and controlling side effects is a major focus of your child’s health care team. Before treatment begins, talk with your child’s doctor about possible side effects of the specific treatments your child will be receiving.

The specific side effects that can occur depend on a variety of factors, including the type of cancer, its location, the individual treatment plan, including the length and dosage of treatment, and your child’s overall health. Common side effects for each treatment option are described in detail within the Treatment Options section.

Ask your child’s doctor which side effects are most likely to happen and which are not, when side effects are likely to occur, and how they will be addressed by the health care team. Also, be sure to communicate with the doctor about side effects your child experiences during and after treatment. Care of a patient’s symptoms and side effects is an important part of a child’s overall treatment plan; this is called palliative or supportive care. It helps children with cancer at any stage of illness be as comfortable as possible. Learn more about the most common side effects of cancer and different treatments, along with ways to prevent or control them.

Be sure to talk with your doctor about the level of caregiving your child may need during treatment and recovery, as family members and friends often play an important role in the care of a child with neuroblastoma. Learn more about caregiving.

In addition to physical side effects, there may be psychosocial (emotional and social) effects as well. For many families, a diagnosis of neuroblastoma is stressful and can bring difficult emotions. Families are encouraged to share their feelings with a member of their health care team who can help with coping strategies, including concerns about managing the cost of your child’s cancer care

A side effect that occurs months or years after treatment is called a late effect. Treatment of late effects is an important part of survivorship care. Learn more about late effects or long-term side effects by reading the After Treatment section or talking with your child’s doctor.

The next section helps explain medical tests and check-ups needed after finishing treatment. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select After Treatment, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.