Living with children's cancer

For parents

Having a child diagnosed with cancer marks the beginning of a journey full of emotional, psychological, physical and practical challenges. You may also experience a range of different feelings along the way, all of which are valid and understandable.

Amidst it all, you’ll need to tell your child about their diagnosis, make decisions about treatment, and continue taking care of yourself and the rest of your family. This can feel overwhelming.

This section contains information that may help you know what to do after your child’s cancer diagnosis, along with links to further information.


Helpful tips

  • Find out as much as you can about childhood cancer, treatment and care. Doctors, nurses and other health professionals can give you lots of information and tell you where to go for more information.
  • Don't try to manage this on your own. The doctors, nurses and other staff at the hospital all want to help you. Let them know how you feel and ask for help. If you have questions, make sure you ask them. There are no silly questions.
  • Ask family and friends to help with things at home. Most people want to help, so make sure you let them know what you need. They may be able to help with things like cooking, cleaning, shopping, washing or looking after your other children.
  • Friends and family will want to know how things are going, but answering individuals can be exhausting. Set up a group email, blog or even a private Facebook group to keep people up to date. You could also ask a friend or relative to do this for you.
  • Make sure you look after your own physical and mental health. It's easy to focus all your time and energy on your sick child, but you need to be healthy so you can help them. Don't feel guilty about taking some time out for yourself.
  • Make time for your partner, other family members, particularly other children, and friends. It's important to maintain close relationships during this difficult time.
  • Talk openly with family and friends about what is happening can help. You might also want professional help from a counsellor or psychologist. Your doctor or someone at the hospital will be able to provide you with a referral.
  • Although treatments are complex and disruptive, most children will be cured. It is important to maintain their sense of a positive future by keeping them engaged with friends family and school.