Your cancer diagnosis has a major impact on your entire family. Children can have many different reactions when a parent or relative has cancer, including fear, confusion, guilt or anger. Let your children know that no feelings are ever wrong. Whatever they feel is okay and normal, and feelings can change from day to day.

CancerCare (www.cancercare.org) offers tips for communicating with your children, including:

• Tell your children the name of the cancer, where it is in your body, how

it will be treated and how their lives will be affected

• Prepare your children for any physical changes you might go through during treatment and tell them how their needs will be met (for example, Grandma will take you to soccer practice)

• Answer your children’s questions as accurately as possible. Allow them to ask any questions they want, and encourage them to express their feelings

• Explain that no one caused you to have cancer and they cannot “catch” cancer like they can catch a cold. Listen to their concerns, and ask them if anything you said scared them or didn’t make sense

• Remind them who is in their life who can help them deal with their feelings about you having cancer or to ask questions and express concerns

• Give them tasks they can do to help you, such as making you a cup of

tea, or bringing you a glass of water or an extra blanket

Visit cancer.org or 1-800-227-8345 for more recommendations on talking with your children.

Relationships & Caregiving





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