Emotions and feelings

Emotions and feelings

Having a child diagnosed with cancer will affect you as parents or carers, and the people close to you.

Understandably, you may feel worried and stressed as you come to terms with the diagnosis and what it means for your child to go through treatment. You may worry that your child will suffer and that your family life is going to be completely disrupted. At first, you may worry that your child is going to die.

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. You may also feel overwhelmed by painful and powerful emotions. These reactions are normal – remember the doctors and nurses are there to help you at this time. There are also other people and organisations that can offer support.

Looking after yourself

Looking after your child

Dealing with school 

Helping other family members such as brothers and sisters and grandparents

Seeking information

You may want to find out as much as possible about the cancer and its treatment. There’s a lot of information on the internet but not all of it is reliable, so talk to the doctors about where to look. The best advice is to use a website by a recognised organisation such as CCLG, Macmillan or Cancer Research UK.

Everyone is different – you may read about a child in a similar situation to yours, but they may have a very different experience. Remember, too, that statistics are only helpful to a degree. They are based on large numbers of people and can’t say what will happen with your child in particular.

You can ask the doctors and nurses questions again if you’ve been unable to take it all in. It may help to have someone else with you, and to write down your questions beforehand. 

Do not google for information - just ask and ask your child's consultant the questions that you need to know the answers to. I made the mistake of looking on the internet before being told by the nurse not to.

Sarah Nesbitt, mum of child with cancer