Youth Coping With a Family Cancer Diagnosis

Helping Children When a Family Member Has Cancer


How can children be told about a parent/family member’s cancer diagnosis? How will children react to the discussion?

It all depends on how the adults close to them are able to handle the crisis. There is stress, intense feelings of fear, and uncertainty about what lies ahead.

How do parents continue to prepare their child/children for what lies ahead with treatment and beyond?

Hopefully, the following resource information can offer guidance and help to answer these important questions:

  • American Psychological Association — Psychologists/ new interventions are helping cancer families cope.
  • The National Cancer Institute offers an information advice resource to assist children/teens in coping with a family cancer diagnosis:
  • Cancer affects the entire family and often times children need help to understand and receive coping support within the family as well as with their friends. Click here to obtain extensive information from the American Cancer Society on how to help children understand and deal with cancer.
  • Cancer.Net — another good resource for parents /primary guardians/grandparents/teens to know and understand coping mechanisms and helpful advice for all: and-friends/talking-about-cancer/talking-with-your-teenager

Additional Assistance Resource Reading:

Brochures and Fact Sheets: —

For children and Teens

  • Cancer Family Care. WHAT ABOUT ME? A booklet for Teenage Children of Cancer Patients.
  • National Cancer Institute. When Your Parent has Cancer: A Guide for Teens.
  • American Cancer Society. It Helps To Have Friends: When Mom or Dad has Cancer.

For Parents

  • CancerCare. Helping Children Understand Cancer: Talking to Your Kids About Your Diagnosis
  • CancerCare. Helping Children When a Family Member has Cancer.
  • helping_children_when_a_family_member_has_cancer.

Note: If you are looking for books for adults or children (age 3 — 5), a list of books is available by emailing for assistance.

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