Rhabdomyosarcoma - Childhood: Questions to Ask the Health Care Team

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 10/2018

ON THIS PAGE: You will find some questions to ask your 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 cancer care and treatment. You are also encouraged to ask additional questions that are important to your family. 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 his or her care.

Questions to ask after getting a diagnosis

  • Where exactly is the tumor located?

  • Are more tests needed to confirm the diagnosis of rhabdomyosarcoma?

  • How frequently do you treat patients with rhabdomyosarcoma?

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

  • What group and stage is the tumor? What does this mean?

  • Is the histology of the tumor favorable or unfavorable? What does this mean?

Questions to ask about treatment

  • What are my child’s treatment options?

  • What clinical trials are available for my child?

  • 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?

  • 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 in the 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 my family talk with a fertility specialist before cancer treatment begins?

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

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

  • Whom should I call with questions or problems?

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?

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

Questions to ask about having radiation therapy, or chemotherapy, or targeted therapy, or…etc.

  • 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 these side effects?

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 I 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 leading my child’s follow-up care?

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

  • 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 beyond this guide that may be helpful to you. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.