Ways to help kids deal with childhood cancer
It’s a parent’s worst nightmare: being told “your child has cancer.” But how can you help your kid get through this tough time?
Each year, the parents of more than 15 thousand kids will hear the words “your child has cancer.” While cancer is the number one cause of death by disease in children, there’s also some good news.
Leslie Kean, MD, Pediatric Oncologist with Seattle Children’s Research Institute said, “The survival rates for childhood cancer have gone up every single decade.”
How can you help a child who has cancer? While every child is different, experts say be open and honest, tell them what’s going on in an age-appropriate way, and don’t try to hide anything.
“What I think it’s important to remember is that kids usually know that something’s going on,” explained Dr. Kean.
Explain what cancer is and that there’s nothing they did to get it. Talk about the different treatments they’ll have and how they might feel. Try to keep their schedule as normal as possible. Look for ways to distract your child like video games or other creative outlets.
Also, don’t neglect siblings. You might want to ask other family members to help give them attention. Lastly, stay hopeful. Your kids will take cues from you.
Sometimes, connecting with families of other kids with cancer can be helpful. Your child will see that there are other children like them and may even form a new friendship.
Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.