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Questions to ask about treatment

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about treatment options. Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

  • Is treatment available for this type of cancer?
  • What are the treatment options?
  • Which treatment do you recommend? Why?
  • Will more than one treatment be given?
  • What are the benefits and risks of having treatment?
  • What are the chances that treatment will be successful?
  • How will we know that the treatment is working?
  • Who will do the treatment?
  • When will treatment begin? Is there a waiting list for treatment?
  • How is the treatment given?
  • Where will the treatment be given? Does this treatment require a hospital stay?
  • Can a support person (such as a partner, parent or friend) be present during treatment?
  • What can I do to prepare for treatment?
  • How long will the treatment last?
  • What are the possible side effects of treatment? When would they start? How long do they usually last?
  • What can be done to help manage side effects?
  • What else should be considered before we make a decision about treatment?
  • What might happen without treatment?
  • How much time can be taken before we make a decision about treatment?


A teenaged girl sitting on her bed I was in total shock when I heard the diagnosis of cancer. Cancer to me was an adult’s disease. Being a 13-year-old teenager, it certainly wasn’t even on my radar.

Read Sabrina's story

Great progress has been made

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Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.

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