A loaded question! It must be answered sensitively, taking into consideration the child’s age and circumstance relating to cancer. A friends nine-year-old son was told, “Grandma is taking medicine that makes her hair fall out.” Really? Do you think a 9 yr old hasn’t ever heard of cancer? On the school bus, 9-yr olds hear about everything you can’t imagine. Surely, cancer is not a foreign word. If children aren’t told the truth, they can imagine far worse scenarios. Feelings of fear are often bottled within.
A child needs to be told the truth. Maybe not the whole truth, but enough considering the child’s age. Always offer to answer honestly any questions a child may have. Teachers and coaches need to be informed so unusual behavior can be addressed.
Don’t “hide” a cancer diagnosis from children – “seek” out the Talk4Hope book series! Mr. C Plays Hide & Seek makes cancer less scary for children, empowers children to cope with their feelings and offers tools for communication. Through vibrant photos and endearing illustrations, readers understand the life of cancer from the perspective of the cell itself. Charming and personable, Mr. C shares the rules of his game without arousing needless fears. Different doctors are introduced who look for cancer and try to beat Mr. C at his game. Recommended for ages 4-12.