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The treatment your child has will depend on the type of cancer| they have.
There are a number of different treatments available. The most common are:
In most hospitals, a team of specialists will plan the treatment they feel is best for your child’s situation. This multidisciplinary team (MDT)| is led by a consultant oncologist/haematologist who specialises in the treatment of cancer or leukaemia. The MDT may include:
It may also include other healthcare professionals, such as a psychologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist or social worker.
The MDT meets on a regular basis to discuss newly diagnosed children, treatment options, clinical trials and any situation where people may be having problems or need extra support. These healthcare professionals use their expertise to work together to provide treatment and support for children and young people with cancer.
The doctor will explain to you which treatment, or combination of treatments, is appropriate for your child.
Before your child has any treatment, the doctor will explain its aims. They will ask you or your child to sign a form to give permission (consent)| for the hospital staff to give the treatment. Once a child reaches the age of 16, they can usually consent to their own treatment. The law about children consenting to treatment is very complicated, so make sure you discuss any concerns you have with your child’s doctor.
No medical treatment can be given without consent, and before you or your child are asked to sign the form, you should be given full information about:
If you don‘t understand what you’ve been told, let the staff know so they can explain again. Some cancer treatments are complex, so it’s not unusual for people to need repeated explanations.
Many children are offered cancer treatment that’s part of a clinical trial|. Trials can be done for a number of reasons. Remember, any treatment suggested for your child will be the best treatment for them. If a trial is suggested, you'll be given information about it and what it involves. You will have to consent to the trial as well as to the treatment itself.
It’s a good idea to have your partner, a relative or friend with you when the treatment is explained, to help you remember the discussion. You may also find it useful to write a list of questions before your child’s appointment.
People sometimes feel that hospital staff are too busy to answer their questions, but it’s important for you to know how the treatment is likely to affect your child. The staff should be willing to make time for your questions.
You can always ask for more time if you feel that you can’t make a decision when the treatment is first explained. In emergencies, decisions may have to be made quickly, but otherwise it’s usually possible to have more time to think things over.
Content last reviewed: 1 April 2012
Next planned review: 2014
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
We worked with The Chilidren's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) to make sure you have the information you need about children's cancer.
If you have any questions about Macmillan we would love to hear from you| .
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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