Involving others

There are several ways to ensure kids hear a consistent message from people who are involved in their lives.

Tell key adults 

Share the diagnosis with other people who talk with your kids (grandparents, friends, the nanny, babysitters) and tell them what you plan to say to your children so that you all communicate the same message.

Talk to other people who have cancer 

Often the best support and ideas come from people who’ve already been there. You’ll realise you’re not alone and you can ask them how they handled things (see Support services).

Ask a professional 

Get some tips from the oncology nurse or social worker, psychologist or other health professionals at the hospital.

Involving the school or preschool

Many parents or carers wonder if they should tell the school. If things are unsettled at home, school can be a place where kids can be themselves with their friends and carry on life as normal.

When the school is aware of the situation at home, staff will be more understanding of behaviour changes and can provide support. In fact, school staff are often the first to notice shifts in a child’s behaviour that may indicate distress. A cancer diagnosis in the family can also affect academic performance, so the student may be entitled to special provisions, which can be particularly important in the final years of high school.

Ways to involve the school include:

  • Tell the principal, the school counsellor and your child’s teachers. They may know of other people in the school community affected by cancer and this may influence your child’s understanding of the disease (e.g. a parent or a child at the school may have died of cancer).Let relevant staff know what your child has been told about the cancer and what they understand cancer to mean, so staff can respond consistently.
  • Ask the school to let you know of any changes in behaviour or academic performance. Ideally, a particular staff member, such as the class teacher, student wellbeing coordinator or year adviser, can provide a regular point of contact with the student. However, request that teachers don’t probe – some well-meaning members of staff might misinterpret your kid’s behaviour and unintentionally make them feel uncomfortable (e.g. the teacher may ask if they’re okay when they’re happily sitting on their own).
  • If you feel concerned about how your child is coping, ask the principal whether your child could see the school counsellor.
  • Sometimes other children can be thoughtless in their comments. Check with the teachers and your child to see how other children are reacting so that negative behaviour can be addressed appropriately.
  • Ask a parent of one of your child’s friends to help you keep track of school notes, excursions, homework and other events. When life is disrupted at home, children may feel doubly hurt if they miss out on something at school because a note goes missing.
  • Ask the principal whether the school could organise for services that support students to visit the school. For primary schoolchildren, Camp Quality has developed an educational puppet show to help young students learn about cancer in a safe, age-appropriate way. For more details, call 1300 662 267. For older children, CanTeen has a cancer awareness program called When Cancer Comes Along. To find out more, contact CanTeen on 1800 234 007.
  • Explore what special provisions might be available for exams or admission into university.

For more ideas about how your child’s school can help, see Cancer in the School Community: A guide for staff members, which explains how school staff can provide support when a student, parent or member has cancer.

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on talking to kids about cancer

Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit:


To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit:

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit:

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in December 2018
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum

Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment

Cancer information

Dealing with the diagnosis
Common reactions to a cancer diagnosis and how to find hope

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends