Treatment Decision Making Guide
Step 7 – Evaluate Your Options
When your child’s doctor recommends a medical intervention of any kind, always ask questions to help you assess the options.
- What is the stage of the retinoblastoma in each eye, and what does that mean?
- Why is this test, procedure, treatment, medication needed?
- What are the doctor’s goals for this medical intervention?
- What procedures are involved, how many, how often, and for how long?
- What are the potential benefits, risks, and side effects (short, medium, and long term)?
- Specifically, what are the risks to life, and what are the risks / side effects to sight and other senses?
- Do the potential risks and side effects outweigh the potential benefits?
- What monitoring will be needed during and after treatment to identify and treat side effects early?
- How likely is it that this option will be successful?
- What does each option cost?
- By when does this decision need to be made?
If you and your child’s medical team speak different languages, ask for a translator to help you ask questions and understand all the information.
Retinoblastoma is a fast-growing cancer that requires urgent treatment. However, you will usually have at least several days in which to evaluate the information you have received, do your own research, and make a carefully informed decision.
If your doctor presses you to begin treatment immediately, clearly state that you need time to consider your options. Schedule a follow up appointment within the next few days, then use that time to do your own diligent research and evaluation.