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Coping With the Diagnosis

Learning that your child has cancer usually gives parents a feeling of their world being turned upside down. Everything in their life may suddenly feel out of control. This is because you did not choose for your child to have cancer. Your initial thoughts may be "How could this have happened to my child?" and "How will we get through this?"

A cancer diagnosis is shocking and overwhelming. However, prognosis of childhood cancer continues to improve, and the chance of being cured continues to increase.

What is grieving?

Grieving is a normal response to a loss. The loss can include the loss of your previously healthy child, the loss of your normal daily routine, the impact of the diagnosis on other family members, and the financial impact of the diagnosis. The grieving process varies from person to person in terms of the order in which one experiences the stages of grief, as well as the time it takes to go through the stages of grief. The child with cancer, the parents, siblings, and other family members, will all experience grief. Grief is usually divided into five stages:

Going through the grieving process is the best way to cope with a cancer diagnosis. By giving yourself, your child, and your family permission to grieve, you will be able to cope.

Coping with the diagnosis:

Some practical things that you can do to help during this time include the following:

The following is a list of suggestions for patients, parents, and siblings that may help each individual cope with his/her emotions, depending upon the age of the child with cancer and the age of the siblings:

Infants and very young children (birth to 3 years of age):

Toddlers, pre-school (3 to 5 years of age):

School-aged children (6 to 12 years of age):

Adolescents (13 to 18 years of age and older):

The various members of the cancer team can assist your family, as needed. The seriousness of a cancer diagnosis and the difficulties of treatment cannot be forgotten. There is good news. In looking at groups of patients, more than 70 percent of children and adolescents are cured of cancer. The statistics are even better for some specific types of cancers.

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Online Resources of Oncology

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