Brain Stem Glioma - Childhood: Questions to Ask the Health Care Team

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 03/2019

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. Use the menu to see other pages.

Talking often with the health care team 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 a digital list and other interactive tools to manage your child’s care. It may also be helpful to ask a family member or friend to come with you to appointments to help take notes.

Questions to ask after getting a diagnosis

  • What type of tumor has been diagnosed?

  • Where exactly is the tumor located?

  • Is the tumor diffuse or focal? What does this mean?

  • Can you explain my child’s pathology report (laboratory test results) to me?

  • Are other tests needed to confirm this diagnosis?

  • What is your familiarity with my child’s tumor type and its treatment?

Questions to ask about choosing a treatment and managing side effects

  • What are the treatment options?

  • What clinical trials are available for my child at this center? How do I find out more about them?

  • What new research is being done at other treatment centers? Where are they located? Are these clinical trials open to my child?

  • 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?

  • What are the chances for success with the planned treatments?

  • Who will be part of my child’s health care team, and what does each member do?

  • Who will be leading my child’s overall treatment?

  • What are the possible side effects of this treatment, both in the short term and long term?

  • 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 of medical care, who can help me?

  • What support services are available to my child? To my family?

  • If I have questions or problems, who should I call?

Questions to ask about having radiation therapy or 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 my child expect during or after each treatment?

  • What are the possible long-term effects of having this treatment?

  • Who should I contact about any side effects my child experiences? And how soon?

  • What can be done to relieve the side effects?

Questions to ask about having 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 having this surgery?

Questions to ask about planning follow-up care

  • What is the chance that the tumor will come back? Should I watch for specific signs or symptoms?

  • 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 child’s records?

  • Who will be leading 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. It offers some more resources on this website that may be helpful to you. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.