When a child’s parent or guardian is diagnosed with cancer, the child’s life is profoundly changed. This Course explains why talking to children about cancer is important, and examines the role that health professionals can play in this dialogue.
- Why talk to children about cancer?
- How do children respond to a parent or guardian’s cancer diagnosis?
- Strategies for health professionals to talk about cancer with children
All health professionals, but especially those working in oncology, paediatrics, child or adolescent mental health, maternal and child health, and primary care.
Provide health professionals with practical advice on how to talk to children when someone close to them is diagnosed with cancer.
A patient diagnosed with cancer may be the parent, guardian or primary caregiver of a child. The ability to support patients in how to talk to the children in their lives as well as talking with children is an important part of providing holistic care.
Healthcare providers may benefit from advice on how to handle these conversations and on how to best assist a child when their parent or guardian is diagnosed with cancer. Health professionals play a key role in the facilitation of referrals to other supports, however, it is important that they feel confident about how to manage such requests from parents or relatives.
- Explain the importance of talking to children about cancer
- Explain the impact that a parent or guardian’s cancer diagnosis can have on a child
- Describe some strategies for talking to children about their parent or guardian’s cancer diagnosis
- Identify when a child or family member may need to be referred to another health professional for counselling or intervention
No conflict of interest exists for anyone in the position to control content for this activity. Wherever possible, generic or non-proprietary names of medications or products have been used.
Dr Katharine Hodgkinson is a Clinical Psychologist with over 18 years’ experience in client care, research and education. Katharine currently leads a team of Clinical and Consulting Psychologists at HeadwayHealth providing a range of psychological interventions to support to those affected by a cancer and other heath and emotional concerns. Katharine has published numerous research papers and several book chapters in cancer care, and co-edited the book “Psychosocial Care of Cancer Patients. A Health Professional’s Guide to What to Say and Do” (Hodgkinson K and Gilchrist J, Ausmed Publications, 2008). See Educator Profile