Cancer is one of the last things any family wants to find themselves facing. When a child faces a cancer diagnosis, it’s frightening for them and for everyone who loves them too. Some cancers that affect children can be treated very successfully, whereas others are more difficult to fight. No matter what sort of cancer your child is facing, you know you have a long journey ahead of you. It’s unchartered territory for nearly any parent, so working out where to begin can be tough. Here are some of the things you might need to consider during your journey to beat your child’s cancer.
Getting the Best Treatment
The top priority for most parents is going to be how they can ensure the best treatment for their child. After diagnosis, you might be referred to a specialist pediatric cancer center. Cancer is children is actually rare compared to cancer rates at other ages, so your best bet is often the specialists who have studied childhood cancers and worked with pediatric cancer patients. Most centers belong to the Children’s Oncology Group, which is a clinical trials group researching childhood and adolescent cancers. Sometimes, patients might be referred to different places so that they can receive a specific treatment.
Helping Your Child and Their Siblings
If your child is diagnosed with cancer, it’s a tough emotional time for everyone. Not only will it affect your ill child, but it can also be very difficult for their siblings. Making sure everyone understands and helping them cope with the changes that need to happen is a lot to handle. You might find you benefit from speaking to doctors and any support you might get from the hospital, such as social workers. Many parents also speak to other parents they meet during treatment or who they interact with through various support groups. This can help you learn techniques for talking to your children and helping them through everything.
Get Support for Yourself
Don’t forget that you also need support as a parent. It’s a tough time for you too, and it’s hard to be there for your children if you don’t find ways to help yourself cope. As mentioned above, support groups can be useful for getting information, but they can also be excellent for emotional support. You need someone to lean on too, and perhaps sometimes a way to escape from everything for a while.
Seeking Further Treatment
Sometimes, cancer treatments such as chemotherapy might not be the only treatments you need to access for your child. Even if your child beats cancer, there could still be some issues to address. For example, if your child has had bone cancer, they might need reconstruction surgery to help rebuild where a tumor has been removed, such as a hip replacement. You can find more information at www.drallison.org/pediatric-hip-replacement . Many children also simply need time to recover from their treatment and get their energy and life back.
It’s not easy to deal with a diagnosis of childhood cancer. However, there are ways you can learn to cope.