Supporting a child with 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.
Here's where to start
During this time, you'll want clear information without trawling through search results. Here are our top guides you might want to look at first:
- Order 'What now?', our free bitesize guide with tips for all you need to know after a diagnosis.
- Get information about your child's cancer: it's hard to take everything in at first. Read the basics about your child's condition, diagnosis and tests, treatment and side effects.
- Know what to expect from your child's NHS cancer care: the NHS have set up cancer services for 0-16-year-olds to meet their needs. Here's our summary so you know more about what care your child will get.
- Tools and tips for talking to your child: it can be hard to know how much information to give your child. We hope this will help you.
- How it affects you: this section contains useful articles and a huge range of advice about day-to-day things like going to hospital, talking to siblings, work, education, managing money and taking care of yourself.
- Going to hospital: find out what it's like, what you'll need, who'll you'll meet and how to sort out the practicalities of travel, parking and childcare.
- Brothers and sisters: some tips for talking to siblings and what to remember about how they might be feeling.
- Talk to parents who've been there: online support groups are a great way to meet other mums and dads who are going through a similar experience. Often they can give the best advice and support.
- Searching the internet: as tempting as it is to google questions you have, read this first. Often talking to your team at hospital can be a better, and more reliable, experience.
How your 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. Friends will probably ask, “Is there anything I can do to help?” 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.
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. Ask the school to order our free Cancer and school life pack designed to help teachers feel equipped and confident in communicating with your child's friends about cancer. A lesson plan asks classmates to think of ways to keep in touch when your child's having treatment. It increases understanding and empathy, so your child has the best possible experience and support from school and their peers. Speak to your social worker for more info.
The costs of travel, parking, taking time off, hospital food and childcare can add up quickly. There may well be different benefits you could apply for to help ease the financial burden. 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.
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 email@example.com. To order or download more of our publications for free, visit our Publications Library.
Updated March 2018, next review due 2019.