We know that hearing the word cancer can make the world drop from beneath your feet. Parents often say this is the moment that their old life stops and a 'new life' begins.
We understand that this can be a devastatingly difficult time. You may still be feeling shocked or struggling to take in the news. You might be worried about how you can possibly cope.
Supporting a child through cancer can test families emotionally, socially and financially. But you won't be making the journey alone. Your CLIC Sargent Social Worker and other professionals in hospital are there to help and support you - don't be afraid to ask for help whenever you need it.
"When you meet with the consultant for the first time you can’t retain anything but the fact that your child has cancer."
The first days in hospital
Families are often rushed to hospital after a cancer diagnosis, and arrive completely unprepared for a hospital stay. CLIC Sargent's Big Bags are packed with vital items to help parents cope in the first few days. Essential toiletries, along with tea, a thermal mug and child’s cuddly toy can provide comfort at a time of shock and distress. We aim to take care of the little things, to allow parents to focus on the bigger challenges at hand.
Information at your fingertips
During this time, clear information can be a vital source of support. Our free booklet What now? gives bitesize information and tips for all you need to know after a diagnosis.
Our How it affects you section contains loads of useful articles and a huge range of advice about things like going to hospital, talking to siblings, work, education, managing money and taking care of yourself.
How friends and family can help
Parents often say how difficult they find telling friends and relatives that their child has cancer. However, the people closest to you can be a huge source of strength. You’re likely to be asked, “Is there anything I can do?” and at this overwhelming time, you might struggle to think of an answer. Our leaflet How can I help? offers some practical suggestions for friends, family members and anyone else who offers you support.
Resources for children
Explaining to your child that they have a serious illness can be an incredibly challenging task for parents. It can be hard to know what information they need and which words to use.
CLIC Sargent’s storybooks are written especially for children. They help them understand cancer and its treatment, by following the journeys of Joe, Mary, Lucy and Tom. Each book also has a glossary to explain the technical terms they may come across during hospital stays and cancer treatment. Find more about talking to your child.
How school can support your child
For some children, cancer can be isolating – especially when they are away from school for long periods of time. Our free Cancer and school life pack helps teachers feel equipped and confident in communicating with young pupils with cancer.
A lesson plan encourages pupils to explore ways of keeping in contact with their classmate. It increases understanding and empathy among peers, to ensure children have the best possible experience and support from the school and their classmates. Speak to your social worker for more info.
The impact of a cancer diagnosis on the whole family cannot be underestimated. Our factsheets about different benefits for people facing cancer explain simply what the benefit is, how to apply and where to go for support.
Our online information, developed with help from the Money Advice Service, offers helpful suggestions about living on a reduced income, and where to find extra support. This saves trawling through internet pages and provides clear, concise and trustworthy information, all in the same place.
The content in this section aims to give a reliable overview of cancer in children and young people, its treatments and the support that may be available to you and your child. It has been produced in partnership with health and social care professionals. These pages are intended to back up the information you get from the hospital, not to replace medical advice from a specialist.
We're here to support you
We understand that this can be a very confusing time. If you have questions, concerns or simply feel you would like someone to talk to please do not hesitate to contact us – we will be happy to help. You can call on 0300 330 0803 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To order or download more of our publications for free, visit our Publications Library.
Updated September 2017, next review due 2018.