Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Start by making an appointment with a family doctor or your child's pediatrician if your child has signs or symptoms that worry you. If your child is diagnosed with Wilms' tumor, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in treating cancer (oncologist) or a surgeon who specializes in kidney operations (urologist).

Because appointments can be brief, and there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that your child is taking.
  • Ask a family member or friend to come with you. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For Wilms' tumor, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my child's symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes for these symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests does my child need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
  • What stage is my child's cancer?
  • What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
  • What types of side effects can I expect from each treatment?
  • Are there any alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
  • Will I need to restrict my child's activity or change his or her diet during treatment?
  • What's my child's prognosis?
  • Will the cancer come back?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you first notice your child's symptoms?
  • Is there a history of cancer, including childhood cancer, in your child's family?
  • Does your child have any family history of birth defects, especially of genitals or urinary tract?
Sep. 02, 2011

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