5 Ways to Prepare Your Child for the Changes that Come with Cancer

By: Dr. Thomas Incledon #

5 Ways to Prepare Your Child for the Changes that Come with Cancer

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, reminding us how important it is to talk about the disease that kills more children in the U.S. each year than any other disease. And, worldwide, a child is diagnosed with cancer approximately every two minutes. With these startling statistics in mind, it is important to be aware of some common signs of childhood cancer:

  • Unusual lumps or swelling
  • Unexplained paleness or loss of energy
  • Bruising easily
  • Consistent pain in one area of the body
  • Limping
  • Unexplained fever or illness that persists
  • Frequent headaches (often accompanied by vomiting)
  • Sudden eye or vision changes
  • Rapid, unexplained weight loss

While these symptoms can often be caused by other things, paying attention to your child’s health and changes in it can lead to earlier detection if there is an issue. Especially, if your child complains about these things frequently, you should see a doctor.

If your child is diagnosed with cancer, it is important to upfront and honest with them. It is a stressful and scary time for the whole family; often knowing what will happen is a great way to calm fears and help your child adjust to what is happening. Here are five ways to help your child prepare for changes to his/her body or life that a childhood cancer diagnosis will bring.

  1. Let them know their appearance may change. Treatment may cause hair loss or a change in weight. Talk with your child’s doctor so you know what to prepare for and then have a discussion with your child about it. If hair loss is a concern, let your child choose a cool hat or scarf to wear. Your child may need to consider an adjusted diet, created in partnership with a nutritionist, to combat the side effects of treatment and maintain a normal weight while still eating foods your child likes. Make your child a part of this process. Discuss how your child wants to respond to any comments or stares he/she may encounter in public during treatment. Each child is different, and your child likely has thoughts on how to handle this. Don’t be afraid to ask.
  1. Help your child tell friends. Once your child begins treatment, being absent from school and activities will be inevitable. In order to help maintain relationships, help your child decide how to tell friends and when. You can also help your child stay connected to friends by encouraging video chats, phone calls, texts, and letters. It is also important to help your child understand that friendships may change during this time because of not being able to attend school or see people in person.  

  2. Create a new family calendar. Doctor’s appointments, hospital stays, and missing sports and other activities will adjust day-to-day life for your family. Make a new calendar to hang in the kitchen that outlines what will be happening so everyone can get used to it. It is also helpful for your child not to see that they are missing soccer every Tuesday and dance every Thursday.

  3. Talk about feelings. It is normal for children diagnosed with cancer to feel sad, anxious, angry, and scared at times. Talk to your child about how they are feeling and help them create coping mechanisms. You can help by thinking of ways to distract your child during treatment sessions or hospital stays. Does your child like video games or drawing? Bring appropriate supplies with you. You can also have friends and family send funny videos or messages of support to lighten the mood. Also, children can sense stress and other emotions in you and others; you should be open with your child about how you are feeling in age-appropriate ways. You may want to consult a therapist or social worker to help you create strategies that will work for you and your child.

  4. Discuss how school will work during treatment. For many children, attending school is out of the question during cancer treatment. However, keeping up with school work and feeling connected to “normal” life can be very healthy for children. Talk to your child’s school about how to best handle things and then let your child know how it will work. Many hospitals have education coordinators that can help you navigate a distance learning program for your child while they are unable to attend school.

If you are interested in learning more about childhood cancer treatment at Causenta, schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation today.

About the Author

Dr. Thomas is the founder and CEO of Causenta Wellness, and the Causenta Cancer Treatment Center in Arizona. From working with NFL, MLB, MMA, World Class athletes and even the White House, his reputation of personalized medicine and cutting-edge technologies has put him on the map, caring for some of the most powerful people in the world, making him one of the most sought-after healthcare professionals of all time.

About Causenta

At Causenta, we recognize that no two patients are alike. Our approach is unique in that we specialize treatment for each patient based on extensive testing. For over 17 years, our team of experienced and highly trained doctors have combined traditional medicine and alternative therapies to provide the highest quality care. Here you’ll find the latest technologies and a state-of-the-art facility combined with treatment protocols not found anywhere else in the world. Causenta is dedicated to strengthening both body and mind while focusing on personalized medicine to provide patients the right treatment for even the rarest conditions.

Whether you are fighting to win a gold metal in the Olympics or fighting for your life to beat cancer, Causenta is the right place for you.

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