CLEVELAND, July 13 (UPI) — A U.S. cancer center expert offers a parent with cancer help in discussing the disease with young children.
Kathleen McCue, children’s program director at The Gathering Place, a non-profit, community-based cancer support center in Cleveland, says sharing a diagnosis with a child is one of the most difficult challenges a parent can face.
“Cancer is a tough topic to discuss with children, but one that should be addressed in an open, ongoing dialogue,” McCue said in a statement.
McCue advises not using the word cancer, because it only sets children up to hear it elsewhere, where their fears can not be immediately addressed. Asking the child to define cancer can help address misconceptions, she suggests. It is OK for a parent to admit not knowing something if a parent doesn’t know something — including why you got sick, McCue says.
Some of the things McCue says children need to know include:
– What to expect — for example what a hospital visit entails.
– The illness will not make their parent love them less.
– Cancer sometimes happens in the body, but unlike a cold, is not contagious.
– Nothing the child did caused his or her parent to get cancer.
– Sometimes people do die from cancer, but many get better. “I want to get better. I am taking strong medicine and have good doctors to help me.”
For more information see www.SomeoneILoveIsSick.com, a tool endorsed by renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor, and other advocates.
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