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I AM WORRIED MY CHILD HAS CANCER

WHAT DO I DO?

Observe your child for any sudden, persistent changes in health or behavior. It’s important to have your child checked by a doctor if they have unusual signs or symptoms that do not go away. Tell your Pediatrician if you are worried that your child could have cancer. Make a list of your child's symptoms and why you suspect it might be cancer. You must trust your own instinct and work as a team with your doctor, using your knowledge of your child and your doctor's knowledge of medicine to protect your child's health.
It might be that you do have a reason to be concerned, or your doctor might be able to reassure you that your child is not at risk, either with a good history and physical examination, or a few screening tests. Make sure you know what happens next. This includes where to go for any tests. Or, when to expect an appointment with another healthcare professional.

READ MORE ABOUT THE TESTS AND SCANS YOUR CHILD MIGHT HAVE

I AM WORRIED MY CHILD HAS CANCER

SIGNS OF CHILDHOOD CANCER

Cancer symptoms can be very similar to those of other childhood illnesses. And they vary between children. Remember the symptoms we list here are not usually cancer.
Early diagnosis is important, particularly with solid tumours where, in most cases, treatment can be less intensive and more successful if the tumour is smaller and has not spread from the primary area at the time of diagnosis. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms for some of the most common childhood cancers.
If you suspect malignancy refer without delay to your paediatrician or a paediatric oncology service

I AM WORRIED MY CHILD HAS CANCER

TESTS AND PROCEDURES TO DIAGNOSE CANCER

In order to ascertain if any cancer cells are present, the consultant oncologist will usually order some tests to make an accurate diagnosis and assess the child’s general health. The tests will also enable the specialist to know where the cancer started and whether it has spread to other parts of the body, which is called staging.
Please remember that not all children have all the tests or procedures. The consultant oncologist will decide what tests are relevant, based on each individual case.
Doing the tests may delay the start of treatment for a few days, but it is important to get all the information together so that the right treatment is given.

READ MORE ABOUT THE TESTS AND PROCEDURES YOUR CHILD MIGHT HAVE

MY CHILD HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER

WHAT ARE CHILDHOOD CANCERS?

Children’s cancers are different to adult cancers. Things that cause adult cancers such as smoking and chemicals, do not cause children’s cancers. Children’s cancers occur in different parts of the body than adult cancers. They look different under the microscope and respond differently to treatment. Cure rates for children’s cancers are higher than those for adults.
Most childhood cancers fall into one of several specific types, discover the list in the link below.

LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW CANCER AFFECTS THE BODY AND THE TYPES OF CANCER

MY CHILD HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER

POSSIBLE CAUSES

The causes of most childhood cancers are not known. Up to 10% of all cancers in children are caused by an inherited mutation (a genetic mutation that can be passed from parents to their children).
Most cancers in children, like those in adults, are thought to develop as a result of mutations in genes that lead to uncontrolled cell growth and eventually cancer. In adults, these gene mutations reflect the cumulative effects of aging and long-term exposure to cancer-causing substances. However, identifying potential environmental causes of childhood cancer has been difficult.

MY CHILD HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER

YOUR CHILD’S TREATING TEAM

Your child’s treating team will have medical, nursing, allied health, support people – and more. The people and services will vary from hospital to hospital.

DISCOVER HERE WHO MIGHT TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILD

MY CHILD HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER

WORDS TO KNOW

The words used by oncologists and those working in the field of cancer can be highly complex and confusing.

READ MORE ABOUT CLINICAL TRIALS

MY CHILD HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER

RISK GROUP, GRADE, OR STAGE

Depending on the type of cancer that your child has – the doctor will describe the cancer in terms of its stage, grade, or risk group. These systems, explained on the link below, are used to describe how severe different types of cancer are and to plan the best treatment for each child.

LEARN MORE HERE

MY CHILD HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER

EXPLORING FEELINGS

No one is ever prepared to hear that their child has a life-threatening illness. When you’re first told the diagnosis, you may feel numb, confused, or unable to hear or remember information about your child’s diagnosis or treatment. Parents have a lot to manage after a child is diagnosed with cancer and the first few weeks can be overwhelming. Your initial thoughts may be "How could this have happened to my child?" and "How will we get through this?"
Here are some resources to help you understand the range of emotions you might feel and cope during those first few weeks after diagnosis.

MY CHILD HAS JUST BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER: COPING WITH FEELINGS AND FEARS

DURING TREATMENTS

TREATMENTS

Once it is established what type of cancer your child is diagnosed with, the consultant oncologist will decide the type of treatment that is required. There are three main types of treatments: chemotherapy (drug therapy), radiation therapy, and surgery. Not all children will require all these; your consultant will discuss the treatment needed to treat your child’s cancer.

READ MORE ABOUT THE TREATMENTS

DURING TREATMENTS

GUIDE TO CLINICAL TRIALS

Many children and young people with cancer are treated on clinical trials. We hope this section, designed for young people with cancer and their parents, will help you understand more about clinical trials and answer some of the many questions you may have. Always discuss any questions or specific queries relating to treatment or participation in a trial with your doctor or other members of the team.

READ MORE ABOUT CLINICAL TRIALS

DURING TREATMENTS

TALKING ABOUT CANCER

Talking to other people about your child’s cancer can be one of the most difficult parts of coping with a cancer diagnosis. There are no perfect words to announce such a terrible news to your child siblings or grandparents. You might worry about how other people will react to the news. In addition, telling different people the same news over and over again can be tiring and stressful. You may also want to keep many of the details of your diagnosis and treatment private. There isn’t a right or wrong way to talk about cancer. Who you tell and how you talk about things may be different depending on your relationship with each person. Here are some tips, we hope might help you talk about cancer with others.

HOW TO TALK WITH OTHERS ABOUT CANCER

DURING TREATMENTS

LOOKING AFTER YOUR CHILD

It is normal for parents or carers who are looking after a child with cancer to feel scared and nervous. Coping with cancer and treatment can be difficult at times for both children and their carers. It is one of the most draining and difficult tasks a parent can face. But with planning and hopefully teamwork from your family, relatives and friends, you can help your child through his or her treatment.
Here are some tips on how to help them cope with changes, their emotional state and the impact of cancer on their daily life.

READ MORE HERE

DURING TREATMENTS

LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF

Caring for someone with cancer can be very stressful, particularly when it is a child. The child with cancer may be experiencing distressing emotions about their cancer diagnosis, side effects from treatment and mood changes from the effects of medications. It is very important that carers of children with cancer look after themselves during this time. Having time out, a cup of coffee with a friend, and sharing worries and concerns with someone not involved in the child’s care are useful strategies.
In this section you will find articles to help you take care of yourself to take even better care of your child.

HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF TO TAKE EVEN BETTER CARE OF YOUR CHILD.

DURING TREATMENTS

COPING WITH DAILY LIFE

Day to day life for a child with cancer can be very difficult for both the child and their carers. Changes to your child’s daily routine, appearance, and friendships may be especially challenging to deal with. At times you may feel overwhelmed and unsure about what the future holds. Knowing what to expect can help the family cope throughout treatment.
There is no right or wrong way to handle the situation. Each family finds its own way to adjust. Here you will find some advice and tips to help you adjust to life during treatment.

FIND HERE INSIGHTS AND ADVICE TO COPE WITH LIFE DURING TREATMENT

TREATMENTS ARE FINISHED

FOLLOW UP

Now that treatments and medicines stop, everyone may feel a little worried and afraid. Making a list of question to ask to your doctor may be reassuring and give you a better idea of what's coming next.

QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN YOUR CHILD HAS COMPLETED TREATMENT

TREATMENTS ARE FINISHED

ADJUSTING TO A NEW NORMAL

Treatment has been successful and your child and family enter a new phase of life. You may feel both joyful and anxious. Your child may still be healing, both physically and emotionally. Your family may be facing new challenges.
Some children get back into school and home routines easily and quickly. For others, the transition is more difficult and takes longer. Parents and siblings also go through a period of adjustment. For example, siblings may have become more independent while you were away at the hospital. Take time to talk about special things that each person in your family has done during treatment. This can help to set in motion a positive tone of resiliency for the future.

FIND HERE TIPS THAT HELP FAMILIES ADJUST AFTER TREATMENT

MY CHILD CANNOT BE CURED

HELPING YOUR CHILD

There are many things you can do to help your child. Exactly what you choose to do, and when, is a very personal choice. Here are suggestions that have helped others during this difficult time.

FIND HERE WAYS TO HELP YOUR CHILD IF TREATMENTS AREN'T WORKING

MY CHILD CANNOT BE CURED

END-OF-LIFE CARE

When children have a terminal diagnosis (usually defined as having a life expectancy of 6 months or less) and are approaching the end-of-life, they may be eligible to receive hospice care. This type of care provides medical, emotional, and spiritual support. Hospice care helps your child to be as comfortable as possible near the end-of-life, when treatment is no longer controlling the disease. It focuses on caring, not curing. However, if your child’s health improves, hospice care is discontinued and active treatment resumes.

What happens next?

What’snext

You may have just learned that your child has cancer. He/she may be in treatment, or finishing treatment. It is for sure overwhelming, but knowing what to expect may help you feel more at ease.
This timeline provides information and advice throughout your child’s cancer journey. It has been designed in sections, which you can read at the right time for you.

DATE OF CREATION: FEBRUARY 2019

Timeline
RabbitTimeline

I AM WORRIED MY CHILD HAS CANCER

It is normal to worry if your child has symptoms of any illness. Cancer in children is not common, it is unlikely that your child will develop cancer.
Yet cancers in children can be hard to recognize right away because early symptoms are often like those caused by more common illnesses or injuries. Children often get sick or have bumps or bruises that might mask the early signs of cancer. Take a closer look to the following sections to help you go through these uncertainty moments.

WHAT DO I DO?SIGNS OF CHILDHOOD CANCERTESTS AND PROCEDURES TO DIAGNOSE CANCER

Timeline

MY CHILD HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER

Finding out that your child has cancer is devastating to hear Even if you have been told that cancer is a possibility, hearing this confirmed by a doctor is overwhelming, for you, your child and the rest of the family.
Here you will find material to better understand cancer and this technical and complicated universe you are entering. You will also find information about the treatments your child is likely to have and which health professionals will be looking after him/her.
These elements should reinforce any information you have been given by your doctor and healthcare team, and should hopefully answer some of your questions. If you have any further worries or questions, please discuss them with the healthcare team looking after your child.

WHAT ARE CHILDHOOD CANCERS?POSSIBLE CAUSESYOUR CHILD’S TREATING TEAMWORDS TO KNOWRISK GROUP, GRADE, OR STAGEEXPLORING FEELINGS

MonkeyTimeline

DURING TREATMENTS

When you first learn your child has cancer, everything seems to change in an instant. You may feel like your life has been turned upside down. Once the shock wears off, the process of making changes begins. You may have to rearrange tasks and routines in your life as your child starts treatment. You probably have a lot of questions to ask about adjusting to all the new issues that cancer brings. Following section provides insights and advice to help you understand what will happen and hopefully better cope during your child’s treatment.

TREATMENTSGUIDE TO CLINICAL TRIALSTALKING ABOUT CANCERLOOKING AFTER YOUR CHILDLOOKING AFTER YOURSELFCOPING WITH DAILY LIFE

Timeline

TREATMENTS ARE FINISHED

The completion of your child’s cancer treatment is a big step! However, it may also be a time that brings new challenges.
Many families are surprised by anxious feelings that arise during this long-awaited time, when they expected to feel only relief. Instead of this being a time to go back to life as it used to be, it may be a time of continued adjustment, as you leave the security of the people on your child’s health care team. Some said the transition to life after treatment took longer and was more challenging than they thought it would be. You may worry that the cancer will return. Your child may struggle to get used to new routines. Some families enter this new phase feeling stronger, whereas others are more fragile. You may be wondering how to put this experience behind you and return to normal life. There is no perfect way. Just as each child’s treatment is different, so is the transition back to a 'new normal'– a phrase often used by cancer survivors and their families This section has tips and information about follow-up and survivorship care for children who have been treated for cancer. ¨

FOLLOW UPADJUSTING TO A NEW NORMAL

Timeline

MY CHILD CANNOT BE CURED

Despite the health care team’s best efforts, it may not be possible to cure your child's cancer. But this does not mean it is untreatable. Children with advanced cancer sometimes live for many months or even years. The goal shifts from being able to cure the disease to providing the best quality of life for your child and managing their symptoms. You and your child will be looked after by a specialist team with expertise in managing symptoms and providing emotional and practical help and support to the whole family. This makes it possible for the child to enjoy a high quality of life for as long as possible. This section shares what parents and professionals have found to be helpful or unhelpful at this very difficult time, and suggests ways you can help your child and make choices about end-of-life care.

HELPING YOUR CHILDEND-OF-LIFE CARE