Telling your child you have breast cancer

Finding out you have breast cancer is hard. Telling your kids that you have breast cancer is even harder. Although you may instinctively want to delay telling your child that you have breast cancer for as long as possible, it is actually usually recommended to tell the truth as soon as you can. Being honest with your child about your condition in an age-appropriate way can actually help him or her feel less anxious. These tips will help you have this difficult conversation with your child.

Seek advice
In most cases, your breast cancer care team will be able to offer advice about talking to your child about your diagnosis. They have seen other families go through the same process and can tell you what has worked for them.

They may also have recommendations for local support groups for kids, suggestions about reading material and other resources that are geared towards kids, and other tools that can make it easier to address your diagnosis.

Be truthful
Depending on your child’s age, it may not always be able to explain everything that is going on with your disease. However, resist the urge to hide information from him or her unnecessarily in hopes of preventing anxiety.

When kids are left to their own imaginations, they often think that things are worse than they are. Finding out exactly what is happening with you may help your child feel less worried. This is especially true when you start treatment and may have physical symptoms, like hair loss, that he or she doesn’t understand.

Trust yourself
Although there is plenty of advice available for talking to kids about a cancer diagnosis, trust your gut. You know your child best and know the best way to communicate with him or her. Your instincts will also tell you how much is appropriate to share and when.

The providers at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas are here to help families through difficult times just like these. Your child’s pediatrics specialist can be a source of support for you and your family as you navigate your breast cancer treatment. Contact us for more information or a physician referral by calling (702) 233-5437.

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