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Discussing Cancer with Your Children


When parents are diagnosed with cancer, one of the most difficult things to do afterwards is inform their children about the situation. They may feel consumed with their own thoughts and fears enough to consider protecting their children from those same feelings. However, children will often suspect something is wrong, no matter how hard to try to hide your condition.

The following are tips on how to talk to your kids about cancer:

  • When your cancer is diagnosed, it’s imperative to be honest with your children from the start. Explain to them the basics of your condition in simple words, then tell them what to expect during treatment by sharing the treatment plan.
  • Make sure you balance hope with reality. Show your children who much you love them and that you will do whatever it takes to fight and beat the cancer.
  • When you are undergoing treatment, discuss the side effects as they occur, such as hair loss and fatigue. Explain to them why looking sick is part of the treatment process and what’s in store for the future. Reassure them that regular check-ups are in order to see how much progress you are making. Because cancer affects everyone and changes the lives of all involved, plan to find a new normal together.
  • When treatment is over, it’s time to celebrate as a family. However, if the cancer won’t go away, remember to be honest and thoroughly explain to them what the next step will be.

Remember, always be ready for confronting questions from your children throughout any step of the treatment process. Give you kids the space to properly grieve, helping them become more proactively involved in helping you get better.

Contact the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine and schedule your appointment today.