• 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.

  • Start skin cancer protection early in your family

    Burns during childhood can dramatically increase your child’s risk of developing skin cancer as an adult. For this reason, it is never too early to take steps to reduce your child’s sun exposure to cut his or her cancer risk . Here are some ways you can keep your child safe from the dangers of excessive sun exposure.

    Stay out of peak sunshine

    Playing outside is healthy for kids, but doing so when the sun is at its strongest could lead to burns. Typically, the sun’s UV rays are most intense between the hours of 10 AM and 3 PM, so consider doing indoor activities during those hours.

    If you are outside with your child during these periods of peak sun exposure, try to avoid being in direct sunlight. Stay under the shade of a tree or umbrella to reduce the amount of sun your child receives.

    Commit to sunscreen

    The whole family can benefit from wearing sunscreen whenever they are going to be outdoors. For your child, choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Your pediatrician can recommend kid-friendly brands that are good for young skin that may be sensitive.

    Sunscreen should be applied about 30 minutes before your kids go outside. Use it liberally, and don’t forget the ears, tops of feet and lips.

    Dress for the part

    How you dress your child for the sun makes a big difference in exposure. Although hot temperatures can mean short sleeves and shorts, wearing tight-knit fabrics with long sleeves and pants offers the most protection. Dark colors can also reduce sun exposure.

    Choose a hat for your child with a wide brim that protects his or her face, ears and neck. Your little one should also wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays.

    Your Sunrise Children’s Hospital pediatrics specialist in Las Vegas can help you make healthy choices for your child and offer preventive care as an investment in your child’s lifelong good health. You can get a referral 24 hours a day by calling (702) 233-5437.

  • Can children become organ donors?

    Just like adults, children can be diagnosed with diseases and medical conditions that cause organ failure. Unfortunately, it’s often more challenging to match a child in need of an organ to a suitable donor organ. Not all children are large enough to receive adult-size or even teenager-size organs. Here at Sunrise Children’s Hospital, our pediatric specialists keenly feel parents’ pain when they are told that their children could die without an organ transplant. During National Donate Life Month this April, take a few minutes to become better informed about the critical need for organ donors in Las Vegas and around the country.

    Understanding the need for organ donors

    Children’s hospital staff members do everything possible to save the lives of children, but sometimes even superior pediatric care fails. The loss of an infant or an older child is unspeakably devastating. It can be difficult to make major decisions in the immediate aftermath of a child’s death, but taking a few minutes to consider organ donation is an act of love. In the U.S., there are nearly 2,000 young patients waiting for a life-saving organ , according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2015, 939 families made the decision to give the gift of life to other families by donating their children’s organs.

    Deciding to donate a child’s organs

    The decision to donate is a personal one. Many parents decide to donate their child’s organs because, in the midst of their own heartbreak, they wish to help save the lives of other children. Some parents are comforted by the thought that, although they’ve lost their own precious child, a part of their child will live on in someone else.

    Authorizing organ donation

    If an organ donor is under 18 years of age, the donation must be authorized by a parent or legal guardian. If you’re considering pediatric organ donation, a doctor or nurse can guide you through it and answer your questions.

    At Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas, parents will find high-quality, compassionate care delivered by dedicated pediatric specialists. It’s our mission to give your child and your whole family the care and support you deserve. You can call a nurse at our children’s hospital at (702) 233-5437.

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