Neuroblastoma - Childhood: Questions to Ask the Health Care Team

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2021

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 cancer 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.

Cancer.Net Mobile app question tracker

Questions to ask after getting a diagnosis

  • Where is the cancer located?

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

  • What is the stage of the cancer? What does this mean?

  • What risk group has my child’s neuroblastoma been classified as? What does this mean?

  • Does my child’s tumor have any tumor markers?

Questions to ask about choosing a treatment and managing side effects

  • What are my child’s treatment options?

  • What clinical trials are available for my child? Where are they located, and how do I find out more about them?

  • Does this hospital participate in clinical trials for children with neuroblastoma?

  • 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?

  • What is my child’s prognosis?

  • How many children with neuroblastoma are seen and treated at this hospital?

  • 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 the long term?

  • How will this treatment affect my child’s daily life? Will they be able to attend school and perform their usual activities?

  • 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?

  • If I’m worried about managing the costs of medical care, who can help me?

  • What follow-up tests are needed, and how often are they needed?

  • 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 surgery

  • What type of surgery will my child have? Will lymph nodes be removed?

  • How long will the operation take?

  • How long will my child be in the hospital?

  • Can you describe what my child’s recovery from surgery will be like?

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

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

  • Will other treatments be needed after this surgery?

Questions to ask when radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, stem cell transplantation and/or other therapies are recommended

  • What specific treatment(s) are recommended for my child?

  • Why are these other types of treatment being recommended?

  • What is the goal of each treatment?

  • How long will it take to give each treatment?

  • Will my child receive this treatment at a hospital or clinic? Or will they take it at home?

  • What side effects can my child expect during each treatment?

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

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

  • What can be done to relieve the side effects?

  • Will my child need tests or scans during this treatment period?

Questions to ask about planning follow-up care

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

  • What long-term side effects or late effects are possible based on the cancer treatment my child received?

  • What follow-up tests will my child need, and how often will those tests be needed?

  • How do I get a treatment summary and survivorship care plan to keep in my child’s personal 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 more resources on this website that may be helpful to you. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.