Discovering a parent has cancer can be overwhelming for children. Confused and worried, they may feel unable to discuss their emotions with anyone.
For parents in this situation, the fear of such reactions makes it difficult to know when to talk to children about the disease, how much to tell them, and what kind of support they need.
However the topic is approached, though, it is always better to talk to children about cancer than withhold information: independent of age, children often sense when there is something wrong and feel left out and isolated if they are not informed.
Other adults such as grandparents, aunt and uncles, and close family friends can also help, especially if the parents become overwhelmed. Doctors and nurses can offer information about the disease, treatments, and journey ahead, while teachers can help children explain the situation to their friends.
As an adult with a close relationship to a child going through such a crisis, it can be difficult to navigate their emotions, cognitive capabilities and need for support.