What words should I use?

It’s often hard to find the right words to start or continue a conversation. The suggestions below may help you work out what you want to say. Although these are grouped by age, you may find that the ideas in a younger or older age bracket work for your child. Go here for tips on how to answer specific questions.


Infants, toddlers & preschoolers

 About cancer

“Mummy is sick and needs to go to hospital to get better. You can visit her there soon.”

“I have an illness called cancer. The doctor is giving me medicine to help me get better. The medicine might make me feel sick or tired some days, but I might feel fine on other days.”

To clear up misinformation about cancer

“Sometimes girls and boys worry that they thought or did something to cause cancer. No-one can make people get cancer, and we can’t wish it away either.”

“How do you think people get cancer?”

“We can still have lots of kisses and cuddles– you cannot catch cancer from me or from anyone who has it.”

 

To explain changes and offer reassurance

“Mummy needs to go to the hospital every day for a few weeks, so Daddy will be taking you to preschool/school instead.”

“Grandpa is sick so we won’t see him for a while. He loves your pictures, so maybe you can draw me some to take to hospital.”

“Mummy has to stay in bed a lot and isn’t able to play, but she can still cuddle you.”


Younger children

 About cancer

“We’ve had some bad news. I’ve got cancer. We don’t know what we’re dealing with yet, but I’m going to have surgery so that the doctors can have a look and find out.”

“You know that Mum has been sick a lot lately. The doctors told us today that the tests show she has cancer. The good news is that she has an excellent chance of getting better.”

To clear up misinformation about cancer

“We can still have lots of kisses and cuddles – you cannot catch cancer from me or from anyone who has it.”

“Cancer is a disease of the body that can be in different places for different people.”

“Even though your friends at school might say that cancer is really bad and I will get very sick, they don’t know everything about this cancer. I will tell you what I know about my cancer.”

 

To explain changes and offer reassurance

“The doctors will take good care of me. I will have treatment soon, which I’ll tell you about when it starts.”

“Even though things might change a bit at home, you’ll still be able to go to tennis lessons while Dad is having his treatment.”

“Mum is going to be busy helping Grandma after she comes out of hospital. There are ways we can all help out, but mostly things won’t change for you.”


Older children and teenagers

 About cancer

“The doctors say Dad has a problem with his blood. That’s why he’s been very tired lately. The illness is called Hodgkin lymphoma. Dad will have treatment to make him well again.”

“Lots of people get cancer. We don’t know why it happens. Most people get better and we expect I will get better too.”

To clear up misinformation about cancer

“There are lots of different types of cancer and they’re all treated differently. Even though Uncle Bob had cancer, it might not be the same for me.”

“The doctor doesn’t know why I got cancer. It doesn’t mean that you’ll get cancer too. It’s not contagious (you can’t catch it) and the cancer I have doesn’t run in families.”

“Even though Grandma has cancer, the doctors say she’ll probably be okay because she was diagnosed early.”

 

To explain changes and offer reassurance

“Things will be different while Dad’s having treatment, and when I can’t drive you to soccer training, Annie will drive you instead.”

“After my operation, there are a few things I won’t be able to do for a while, like lifting things and driving. Our friends are going to help by dropping off meals.”

“What things would you like to help with at home?”

“If you think of any questions or have any worries, you can come and talk to me. It’s okay if you want to talk to someone else too.”


Listen to our podcasts on Explaining Cancer to Kids and Family Dynamics and 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: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

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: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

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: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

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 http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

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
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Coping with cancer?
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Cancer information

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