Caring for a Child With Cancer: What Parents Need to Know

    Caring for a Child With Cancer: What Parents Need to Know

    For any parent, caring for a child with cancer can feel like a daunting task. Seeing your own child struggle with the side effects of treatment as well as the effects of cancer on their body can truly be heartbreaking.

    This is why it’s important for parents to know what they can do to help their child deal with their condition. By planning ahead and knowing what to expect, you can provide the best possible care for your child until they recover.

    Caring for a child with cancer: Important things to remember

    Even though both children and adults can get cancer, the forms of treatment for children and adults can be very different. Care can also very depending on how far along the cancer is. It will depend as well on what type of cancer the child has. In addition, children can also have emotional needs that should be taken into account when it comes to giving them proper care1.

    Here are some important things to remember:

    Explain the situation as best as you can and provide emotional support to your child

    Finding out that your child has cancer can be a confusing and difficult time for you as a parent. But imagine how hard it must be for your child. This is why an important aspect of caring for a child with cancer is to inform your child about the situation.

    Be open about it with your child and talk to them about the situation. Let them know about the diagnosis, and reassure them that you will do everything you can to make sure that they get better.

    It’s also a good idea to explain to them what treatment will be done, and what possible side effects it can have. Having this conversation with your child can help them cope better with their situation, and makes them feel better knowing that you’ll be there to care for them every step of the way.

    It’s also a good idea to explain things to your friends and family. That way, they, too, can support your child and family.

    Know how to manage the side effects of treatment

    As your child goes through treatment such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and immunotherapy, they can experience some side effects. These can include pain, fatigue, hair loss, anemia, nausea, loss of appetite, weakened immune system, etc.

    When it comes to caring for a child with cancer, it’s important to be prepared for these side effects. Your child’s doctors can help guide you through what you can do to make your child feel better, so be sure to ask questions and do not hesitate to get in touch with them if you need help.

    Take the necessary steps to prevent infections

    Infections are a serious concern when it comes to caring for children with cancer. Normal illnesses such as the common cold, flu, and other infections can be very dangerous for a child undergoing cancer treatment.

    This is because cancer treatment can weaken their immune system, leaving them more vulnerable to infection. Parents and caregivers need to practice proper hygiene, wear masks, and make sure to keep themselves healthy and free from infection. This way, the chances of infection will be minimized2.

    Be in constant communication with their doctors

    Another thing to always remember when caring for a child with cancer is to be in constant communication with their doctors. This way, you’re informed about your child’s progress, and you can also give frequent updates about your child’s condition to their doctors.

    Aside from this, knowing that your child’s doctors are one call away can give you some peace of mind.

    Don’t neglect your own health and wellbeing

    Lastly, as your child’s primary caregiver, it’s important to prioritize your own health and well-being, too. If you feel tired or overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to take a break or ask for help.

    If you’re struggling and need professional help, there’s no shame in doing so. Don’t forget that in order to provide the best care for your child, you also need to be healthy.

    So be sure to get enough rest, eat the right kinds of food, and take breaks whenever you’re too stressed out.

    Take the necessary steps to build a support system to help you on this challenging journey.

    Learn more about Cancer here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS

    Pediatrics · Philippine Pediatric Society

    Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Sep 05, 2022