Childhood Cancer

Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors

Chapter 5: Choosing a Treatment

The challenge in pediatric oncology remains clear: to strive for the cure and health of all children through the development of more effective yet less damaging treatment for our young patients.

— Daniel M. Green, MD and Giulio J. D’Angio, MD Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer

THE FIRST FEW weeks after diagnosis are utterly overwhelming. In the midst of confusion, fear, and fatigue, you might need to make an important and sometimes difficult decision: whether to choose the best-known treatment (standard treatment) or enroll your child in an experimental treatment (clinical trial). This chapter explains helpful things to know before deciding on a treatment for your child, including the difference between standard treatment and clinical trials. It also covers questions to ask about proposed treatments, informed consent, the pros and cons of selecting a clinical trial, and stories from parents about the decisions they made.