How do you deal with a child’s cancer diagnosis? Advice for parents|psychology | FAMILY

A diagnosis as overwhelming as cancer directly affects the patient’s family, especially if it is a child who has been diagnosed. The family routine and the dynamics in general will undergo drastic changes which will have to be dealt with in the best way, since what the patient hears and sees is directly linked to his treatment process.

“Patients and their families, in one way or another, are affected by the diagnosis. Many of them decide to seek psychological help in these situations, because they need a lot of support to face the problems and better control the stress and other emotions that may arise”, explains Flavia Vilca Herrera, psychologist at Magic.

There are all kinds of reactions and none of them are good or bad, no one is ready to receive such a diagnosis. Fear, anger and denial are the most common emotions during this process. Ideally, try to follow the same routine or create small variations that are easy for the patient to assimilate.

“Becoming familiar with the treatment plan, as well as the possible impact it could have on the daily life of the child and other family members, such as siblings, can be helpful for parents in managing the situation more appropriately and begin to plan for the future A resource that will help you maintain or create new routines while your child is undergoing treatment would be to let your workplace know about the situation in order to access to certain permits. They can request a certain type of leave for family reasons or an early vacation, as well as the possibility of working from home, as the case may be, ”explains the specialist.

Most children and teenagers realize that something serious is going on when they feel unwell and undergo extensive medical examinations, while watching adults have discreet conversations with healthcare personnel. Depending on age and other developmental factors, children understand what is happening in different ways. Here are some general tips for talking to children about their illness based on their age:

Infants and very young children (0 to 2 years old)

This is a very difficult stage because they cannot properly communicate how they feel. The ideal is that they feel protected at every moment of the treatment. The presence of trusted parents and caregivers is essential.

Toddlers and preschoolers (2-5 years old)

At this age, they should know the disease they are suffering from and simple facts about the treatment, explaining them simply, without trying to minimize or exaggerate the subject. Managing this basic information is essential because it will help them gradually assimilate the changes that will occur in their daily lives. They must be made to understand that no one has caught this disease, much less can they infect other people.

Children of primary school age (6 to 12 years old)

At this age they can already make up their own mind about cancer, it is important to keep them informed with reference to the medical process in which they will be treated. You must know that your life and that of your immediate family will face changes, which will be faced together. The biggest variation that occurs during this stage is that the child may not be able to go to school for a while. This translates into the loss of social relationships, ties with friends and the opportunity to participate in recreational activities. On the other hand, the child must know that his body will undergo changes, and it is important to tell him the truth at all times, advised by a specialist in pediatric psycho-oncology.

Teenagers (12 to 18 years old)

Teenagers have access to more information through the Internet. They must know the process they will go through to overcome the disease. Support groups are very useful and also allow you to meet other people going through the same situation.

They must explain to him that his routine can continue, that is to say, to visit his friends and to continue his academic activities, with the possibility of being able to opt for mixed classes or to receive support from teachers and schoolmates. class so as not to fall behind. You should have the opportunity to participate in treatment decisions and hear what is best to do.

It’s good to have the support of family or close friends, someone to take your other children to school or activities, or help around the house. It is also necessary to coordinate with the health center where the child is being treated to prevent their school routine from being completely affected. You must organize the schedule of medications, treatments and appointments, as well as leisure and rest. Support throughout this process is essential for the child.


The Volunteer Association for Children with Cancer – Magic, works to ensure that no child with cancer is left without treatment for lack of financial resources, covering medicines, prostheses and medical supplies. Likewise, Magia has a shelter called Casa Magia which becomes a home for children from the interior of the country without financial support and covers all their needs so that they receive safe treatment without interrupting their integral development.

Magic also receives donations on its website or via Yape on 946 493 104. You can go to and find out more about its work.}

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