Explaining to a child that he or she has been diagnosed with cancer is difficult for parents. Usually the parents are still coming to terms with the terrible news that their child has cancer themselves, and at first cannot even contemplate telling the child.
As a parent, your first instinct will be to protect your child, but children are very sensitive and intuitive, and will most probably realise that there is something radically wrong. They may already be going for a series of medical tests and being examined by various doctors; they will pick up that you are stressed, and may worry more if they do not know what is wrong.
Keeping the truth from your child may cause them to feel guilty for making you stressed out, which is not good for them. Some well-meaning family members may say something to them or one of their oncology team or staff at the clinic or hospital may inadvertently let something slip. If your child finds out about their cancer from another source they will lose trust in you as a parent because you were not honest with them.
In this podcast (audio only), MD Anderson Child Life Specialist Kelly Wagner shares information, advice and different approaches for how to talk to children of all ages about their cancers.
Read more on how and what to tell your child at what age in THIS ARTICLE