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Helping children cope when a family member has cancer

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Abstract

A cancer diagnosis impacts the entire family unit, but children are especially vulnerable. In the past, families and professionals did not share information or allow for children to express their feelings or to be involved. Children have the right to know and the need to know the truth. Interventions should be based on both the developmental stage of the child and the stage of the illness. Approaches by disease phase and developmental stage are discussed. Goals include maintaining family stability, preparing children for what may happen, allowing for flexible communication, and preventing serious psychosocial sequelae.

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Presented in part as an invited lecture at the 7th International Symposium: Supportive Care in Cancer, Luxembourg, 20–23 September 1995

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Rittenberg, C.N. Helping children cope when a family member has cancer. Support Care Cancer 4, 196–199 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01682340

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Key words

  • Cancer diagnosis
  • Family members
  • Children
  • Impact