Children of Parents with Cancer

June 28, 2010 at 5:07 pm Leave a comment

This past week I had the privilege, as the social worker at Ronnie Lippin Cancer Information and Resource Line atTower Cancer Research Foundation (TCRF), to attend a luncheon honoring a group of volunteer cancer survivors, called the Bosom Buddies. This group provides support to patients who are currently receiving treatment for cancer at our affiliate, Tower Hematology Oncoclogy Medical Group. The Bosom Buddy volunteers invited patients with whom they have developed mentoring relationships to the luncheon. As we mingled, one patient, Jamie, expressed her need for supportive resources for her nine year old son. Jamie was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago, and her son is now exhibiting anxiety about her mortality and has verbalized his fear about the possibility of her dying.

I shared with her that professionals recommend parents be honest about disclosing their illness to their children. Age appropriate conversations can help alleviate a child’s fear that can be exacerbated by his or her imagination of the unknown. Jamie has openly and honestly discussed her disease with her son but now feels the need for some additional resources and referrals to help him cope with her cancer diagnosis. After the luncheon, I emailed Jamie a list of referrals to agencies that provide support groups for children who are experiencing difficulty in coping with a parent’s cancer diagnosis. These support groups provide trained professionals in a safe and confidential setting where children meet and talk openly with peers also facing similar issues and concerns. Also, I included a list of private psychotherapists who have experience with cancer-related issues including a few that have experience with children who have a parent with cancer. I also found some excellent books recommended for children in Jamie’s son’s age range to help cope with the reality of a parent with cancer . I also sent her other resources, such as a summer day camp that provides a therapeutic experience specifically to help these children.

Cancer affects everyone in a family, not just the person diagnosed. Dealing with a cancer diagnosis presents not only new medical challenges but emotional ones as well. Jamie, in addition to dealing with her cancer, is trying to help her son deal with it as well. The Ronnie Lippin Cancer Information and Resource line can reduce the time and energy that you or a loved one might spend looking for answers on where to get help with your cancer related issue. The information and resource line is free but the information and referrals we can offer may be priceless.


Entry filed under: advocacy, RLC Info & Resource Line, Tower Cancer Research Foundation.

Recommended Books written by Breast Cancer Survivors. ASCO Validates Yoga for Cancer Patients

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