Kids tell kids what it's like... when a family member has cancer

Author: James Metz, MD
Content Contributor: Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Reviewed: November 01, 2001

Produced by: Cancervive
Supported by a Grant from Pharmacia and Upjohn.
Format: VHS, 29:53 minutes
Contact: 1-800-4 TO CURE

OncoLink Rating:

This video was developed and produced by Cancervive, a non-profit organization for cancer survivors. The goal of the video is to enhance communication between children and family members when a relative is diagnosed with cancer. Kids tell kids what it's like... is designed to be watched by both kids and parents. It encourages children to discuss their concerns and fears by showing them other kids have similar feelings. Fear, anger, guilt, and jealousy are all discussed. Most importantly, it is children communicating their feelings and not adults. There are no adult voices or faces during the video. A number of children share their stories and talk about how it feels to have a sibling or parent with cancer.

The video is divided into two parts. Heather, a thirteen year-old girl who has a brother with a brain tumor, narrates part one. She attends a camp designed specifically for kids with cancer and their siblings. Heather goes alone because her brother is too sick to attend the camp. At the camp she meets many children with cancer and their siblings. She talks with other children that have experienced cancer and the feelings it evoked in each child. By the end of the segment, Heather understands she is not alone and other children experience similar feelings.

Part two features a number of children who have had a parent diagnosed with cancer. They discuss their feelings about their parent's diagnosis, treatment, and embarrassing side effects of therapy. They express how important it was to learn to talk about their feelings. They explained how it helped them to talk to their parents, share with a special friend, or get involved with support groups for kids.

Overall the video is excellent. It should be watched as a family to encourage kids to discuss their feelings. It is designed so a child can just say to a parent, "I feel like that too." It is an effective way to open the door for important conversations with children. The video is highly recommended by OncoLink for any family that has children exposed to a diagnosis of cancer.

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