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- Living well after cancer
- Impact on family and friends
- Coping with children’s needs
Coping with children’s needs
Like many adults, children may struggle with the changes to family life after a cancer diagnosis. They may worry about the future or find it difficult to understand why life can’t go back to the way it was.
Talking to children about cancer can be difficult. Children’s reactions and needs will vary depending on their age. But most young people find honest discussions reassuring.
Tips for talking with children
- Try to be as open and honest as possible.
- Acknowledge the impact of cancer on your family. This is particularly important for teenagers. Canteen can help young people aged 12–25 cope with life after a cancer diagnosis in the family. Call 1800 835 932.
- Depending on the age and understanding of the children, talk to them about your fears (e.g. anxiety before a follow-up visit). This may encourage children to talk about their own fears.
- Be open about how you feel, so the children understand if you’re not bouncing back.
- Spend time together doing things they enjoy.
- Explain any changes made to your family’s lifestyle. Let your children know if these are going to be permanent.
- See Talking to kids about cancer.
Podcast: Explaining Cancer to Kids
Prof Michael Jefford, Medical Oncologist and Director, Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Lucy Bailey, Nurse Counsellor, Cancer Council Queensland; Philip Bullas, Consumer; Dr Kate Gunn, Clinical Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow, Department of Rural Health, University of South Australia, SA; Rosemerry Hodgkin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Prof David Joske, Clinical Haematologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Clinical Professor of Medicine, The University of Western Australia, WA; Kim Kerin-Ayres, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Cancer Survivorship, Concord Hospital, NSW; Sally Littlewood, Physiotherapist, Seymour Health, VIC; Georgina Lohse, Social Worker, GV Health,VIC; Melanie Moore, Exercise Physiologist and Clinical Supervisor, University of Canberra Cancer Wellness Clinic, ACT; June Savva, Senior Clinician Dietitian, Nutrition and Dietetics, Monash Cancer Centre, Monash Health, VIC; Dr Elysia Thornton-Benko, Specialist General Practitioner and Research Fellow, University of New South Wales, NSW; Prof Janette Vardy, Medical Oncologist, Concord Cancer Centre and Professor of Cancer Medicine, The University of Sydney, NSW; Lyndell Wills, Consumer.
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