Helping your Children Cope During your Cancer Treatment

Last Modified: May 8, 2012


Could you help us find some resources for support for our children to help them deal with my wife's cancer diagnosis?


Christina Bach, Oncology Social Worker at Penn Medicine responds:

Being a well prepared parent is an important part of your family's coping with your wife's cancer diagnosis.

The first advice I can give is to talk with your children. Ask them what they know about what is happening with their mom, what questions they have, and what some of their fears/thoughts may be.

Secondly, be sure to talk to your children's school/teachers about what is happening with your wife. Teachers are VERY savvy to subtle behavior changes or performance changes that may be coming about due to your wife's diagnosis and treatment.

Third, enlist the help of your extended family, friends, community and church supports to take turns with things like babysitting or maybe taking the kids to a special event. It's important to help your children maintain as much normalcy to their lives despite the massive disruption and changes posed by a cancer diagnosis. This is where extra persons can help you get your kids to their band concert or soccer practice.

Locally, talk with your oncology team especially your oncology social worker who can help you with local resources that may be available.

Some great resources for kids include:

Also Camp Kesem is a national program with local summer camps throughout the country. This is a great opportunity for your kids to get away while still have professional supports.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire transcript from the Focus on GI Cancers webchat.