Talking to children

Talking to children

Deciding what and how much to tell children about your cancer is a very personal choice. No parent wants to tell their children they have cancer. Instead every parent wants to protect their children from life’s uncertainties. However, a diagnosis of cancer affects the whole family. Children may notice a change in routine or pick up on your tension or anxiety, even if you think you are hiding it. Therefore, it is important to consider your children’s age and maturity level. By age-appropriately talking to your children, the entire family will be better placed to cope together. Providing accurate information can be a powerful way of helping children to feel more in control of the situation. Knowing more about cancer and its treatments can take some of the fear away. Most people feel better when they know what to expect and children are no exception. Honest communication during childhood establishes a pattern for life. Being open with your children sets an example that you are willing to discuss difficult challenges and situations which can be particularly helpful during teenage years.

We have a new booklet “Talking to your children about cancer” for families affected by male cancers. Topics include why communication is important, what kind of information should be communicated to children, when and how should children be told and making sure children have the right facts. Download the booklet here. Talking to your children about cancer – for families affected by male cancers


Last Reviewed January 2021.


References available on request.

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