- Cancer Information
- Family and friends
- Talking to kids about cancer
- Talking: After treatment
- Family life after treatment
Family life after treatment
Celebrate the end of cancer treatment, and acknowledge that it has been a difficult period for everyone; this is particularly important for teenagers. Encourage kids to have fun. They have lived with worry for months and may need your permission to relax again.
Let the family know how you’re feeling emotionally and physically so they understand if you’re not bouncing back as quickly as they expected. It may be helpful to let the family know that treatment effects are likely to last for a while after treatment finishes. Keep using the emotions thermometer if you have one. Be open about your fears, such as if you’re feeling anxious before a check-up. This may encourage your kids to talk about their own fears.
Do things at your own pace, and avoid any pressure to return to “normal” activities. You may want to ask yourself: Am I doing what fulfils me? Am I doing what I want to do? What is important to me? Explain any changes to the family’s lifestyle and negotiate where possible. During your recovery, you may be able to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes into family life or activities – for example, you could do light exercise together, or make healthy changes to the kids’ diets as well as your own.
Focus on each day, and expect good days and bad days – for both the adults and the children in the family.
If you are a parent who has finished cancer treatment, you may want to focus your attention on your children, but it is important to look after your own wellbeing. These strategies can help:
We thank the reviewers of this book: Professor Kate White, Chair of Nursing, The University of Sydney, NSW; Sarah Ellis, Psychologist, Behavioural Sciences Unit, Kids with Cancer Foundation, Sydney Children’s Hospital, NSW; Kate Fernandez, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Chandra Franken, Program Manager – NSW & ACT, Starlight Children’s Foundation, NSW; John Friedsam, General Manager of Divisions, CanTeen, NSW; Keely Gordon-King, Cancer Counselling Psychologist, Cancer Council Queensland; Stephanie Konings, Research Officer, CanTeen, NSW; Sally and Rosie Morgan, Consumers; Dr Pandora Patterson, General Manager, Research and Youth Cancer Services, Canteen, and Adjunct Associate Professor, Cancer Nursing Research Unit, The University of Sydney, NSW and Visiting Professor, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Coventry University, UK; Suzanne Rumi, Consumer; Michael Sieders, Primary School Program Manager, Camp Quality.
We would also like to thank the health professionals, consumers, organisations and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title, and we are grateful to the parents and young people whose real-life stories have added to the richness and relevance of this book.
We thank and acknowledge Dr Paula K. Rauch, MD, Founding Director, Marjorie E. Korff PACT (Parenting At a Challenging Time) Program and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, whose research and writing on helping parents talk to their children about cancer was used as source material for this book and has been adapted in several sections: pages 8 -11, Different views of cancer; page 24, Answering key questions: Are you going to die?; pages 26 -27, Involving the school or preschool; pages 30 -31, Prepare for hospital and treatment centre visits; and page 37, Encouraging family time. We also thank the American Cancer Society for permission to use and adapt material on pages 8 -11 from its book Cancer in Our Family: Helping children cope with a parent’s illness (2013); Macmillan Cancer Support for permission to use its book Talking to Children and Teenagers When an Adult Has Cancer (2013) as a source of information; Jessica Watt, Oncology Social Worker, Children’s Hospital Westmead, for her contribution on page 18, When another child has cancer; Diane McGeachy, Hobart Counselling Centre, for contributing material for page 38, Spending one-on-one time; and Dr Ranjana Srivastava, and The Guardian for permission to adapt €œHow do you tell your children you have cancer? €_x009d_, on pages 21 and 47 – full story is available at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/nov/29/how-do-you-tell-your-children-you-have-cancer.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.