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The following information has been written for a child at a reading age.  Share this information with your child if you think it is appropriate and might help them.

Feelings and fears

  • If your mum, your dad or your doctor has told you that you have cancer, you might be feeling confused and not sure what this means, or you might be feeling sad and afraid because you know it is something pretty serious. You might also feel angry because this is happening to you. All these feelings are very common for children like you who have just found out that they have a serious illness.

Best to talk to mum or dad or another adult you trust

  • You probably don’t know any other kids who have cancer so you can’t ask anyone else how it was for them. So it's best to talk to your mum or dad, or another adult you trust, whenever you feel any of these emotions. They'll be able to explain what is happening.

Why did I get cancer?

  • You might be worried that you got cancer because of something you did, but this is not true. Doctors don’t know exactly why some children get cancer, but it's definitely not because of anything they did wrong.

  • You can’t catch cancer either, like a cold or chickenpox, so don’t be afraid that you will pass your cancer on to your relatives or friends. You can give and receive as many hugs and kisses as you like.

Changes to expect

  • While you have treatment for cancer, your life will probably change a lot. There'll be quite a few visits to doctors and hospitals, and you'll have to have some tests and then treatment. This will become part of your daily life for a while, but there'll still be time for your other usual activities and having fun.

  • You might also look different while you're having treatment. You might get skinnier or fatter, your hair might fall out, or you might have tubes coming out of your body to help with the treatment. These things can make you feel a bit uncomfortable or embarrassed, but they should all go back to normal after your treatment has finished.

There will be people around to help

  • Your parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, and other friends and relatives will all be looking out for you and helping you to get better as quickly as possible. You'll also meet other kids with cancer, and can talk to them and share your feelings and experiences.

Let someone know...

  • If you start to feel ‘down’ and depressed, you have no energy and life doesn't seem worth living, it's really important to talk to mum or dad, or your other trusted relative and friends. For some people, the feelings you had when you first found out that you had cancer can come back in bad dreams or flashbacks. Other people can be scared or worried about going to places that remind them of how they felt when they first found out they had cancer. If this happens to you, it's very important to talk about it so that the people looking after you can help to make sure these feelings go away when you finish your treatment.

published: Sunday, 23 August, 2015