Living with Childhood Cancers

Coping with a child with cancer.
The child is the centre of the family. Even a small illness in a child upsets the whole family. A child diagnosed and undergoing treatment for cancer naturally leads to tremendous stress for the parents and the family. In this time the child also goes through an emotional turmoil. He obviously looks for support from his parents.

It is important to gather courage at this critical point to comfort and reassure the child. Behave as "normal" as you can. Do not let it appear that the child is different in any way. Do not show or seek sympathy. Rather, take control of the situation and transmit the same positive attitude to the child. Go for the usual stroll in the park or to an entertainment centre. Don't let the child feel that he or she is different.

The school and teachers form another important area. Peer group has to be briefed by the teacher and the right type of friends have to support the child. Acceptance by friends can be a source of enormous strength.

It is important to maintain the nutrition of the child and also attend to the general cleanliness. Oral hygiene should be proper and one has to avoid infections during therapy. Regular dental care is necessary and any febrile episode should be reported to your treating clinician.

The other siblings can also be difficult at times, as they perceive that the child is getting more attention and they feel neglected and can be cranky to seek attention. They have to be made aware of the situation and should be part of the supporting team. An elder brother or sister can be far more effective than a parent in providing a "normal" home and play environment can.

Remember always - the childhood cancers have many success stories in cancer treatment and many of them are curable.

There is always Hope

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