In the aftermath of such a tragic diagnosis, difficult decisions must be made, all while parents are dealing with a sick child - and their own shock.
For one Australian family, these decisions are currently being made in a courtroom in Perth.
This week a family court judge will decide whether a six-year-old Perth boy must have radiotherapy against the wishes of his parents.
Oshin Kiszko was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in December, but his parents opposed chemotherapy and radiotherapy due to possible side effects, which can include reduced cognitive ability. Generally, experts say, the younger the child, the greater the side effects.
In March Oshin’s medical team at Princess Margaret Hospital went to court over his parents decision to withhold treatment. After a court order enforced treatment, Oshin underwent chemotherapy.
His parents have been back in court again this week, this time to prevent Oshin undergoing radiation therapy.
During eight hours of testimony, the barrister representing Oshin’s parents, Andrew Skerritt, told the court that his clients were willing to go ahead with more oral chemotherapy, noting there had been a response to the treatment.
However, they remained concerned by the possible side effect of radiation, reports news.com.au.
The court heard that Oshin would have a 30 to 40 per cent chance of survival in five years' time if he received both chemotherapy and radiation. Without the radiotherapy, he would only live for another six to 12 months.
Family Court Chief Judge Stephen Thackray Thackray described the case as an “exceedingly difficult matter” and “a matter of life and death”. His decision is due back this week.