A diagnosis of cancer can be scary for the entire family and it can be very hard to discuss. At Nationwide Children's Hospital, our team of cancer experts have gathered together our most frequently asked questions with easy to understand answers. And we've separated the questions into two categories: questions you can use to discuss with your child (patient) who has cancer and questions you can use to discuss cancer with their siblings or loved ones.
Click here to find questions to discuss with siblings or loved ones.
No one knows why some kids get cancer and others don’t, but remember you didn’t cause it! You might have lots of feelings when you find out you have cancer, such as like you did something wrong, or wanting to pretend you didn’t hear. It is okay to feel sad and cry. These feelings are a way for you to say how you feel inside.
The doctors and nurses know that getting stuck in your arm can hurt so they try to make it easier on you by putting special tubes into your body. Both of these tubes are put in during surgery so you will be sleeping. Once you have your tube, you won’t have to get stuck in the arm very much. Through these tubes you can get your chemotherapy, fluids, platelets and blood. These tubes also can be used for getting blood out of your body when the doctors need blood to check your counts. There are three types of special tubes that they can put in. You only get one of them…a broviac catheter, an implantofix or a PICC line.
Radiation is a special kind of treatment that you cannot see, feel or touch. It is given by big machines and is like a beam of light. Like many of the tests you have had, it doesn’t hurt. The machines do make a lot of funny noises. The doctors will use a special pen to make marks on your body. These marks mark the spots where you need your radiation. You need to keep your marks clean and dry. For your radiation treatment, you will lay on the table of a big machine. This machine will be moving over and around you as it aims itself at your marks. You need to be very still while the machine is on.
Sometimes it is necessary to take a special look inside your body. This can be done by a really neat test called a CT scan. For this test you sometimes have to drink some red liquid called contrast to help us get a better look at the inside of your body. The people who do the CT scan sometimes also have to put some medicine in your tubie. You will then lie on a table and a very large machine will move all around your body to take pictures. Your job for this test is to try to stay as still as possible. It doesn’t take very long and it does not hurt! Your mom or dad can stay with you during this test.
Sometimes a CT scan is not the very best test to see the inside of your body and you will have another test called an MRI. This test uses a large machine that usually is kind of loud and it may take a little longer. If you like music, you can pick out some songs for them to play during your test. Your most important job for this test is to try to stay as still as you can. If you need to move or something itches, you can tell the person doing the test and they will help you. This test does not hurt.
Bone marrow cells are the cells that make your blood cells. These cells are inside your bones. A bone marrow aspirate is a test that is done so that a doctor can look at your bone marrow cells to see if there are any cancer cells there. The bone marrow test is usually done in your hipbone. The hipbone is close to the skin and there is a lot of bone marrow there.
Some cancer cells can hide in your brain and spinal cord. There is fluid that flows through your brain and spinal cord that is called cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF. Sometimes cancer cells sneak into this fluid and can cause headaches, vomiting or blurred vision. For this reason, medicine needs to be put into the CSF to damage those cancer cells that are present or to prevent them from getting in there later. Medicine is put into your spinal fluid by a spinal tap procedure.
Contact Hematology, Oncology & BMT
Psychosocial Services Leadership
Posts by Dr. Young-Saleme on 700 Children's
Find Your Service or Condition
Hematology/Oncology/BMT treats the full array of blood disorders, cancers, immune-deficiency disorders, bone marrow failure syndromes and inherited metabolic storage diseases.