The Family Connections Program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and
Women's Cancer Center provides support and information to parents
diagnosed with cancer.
The information in this section includes topics of concern to parents facing a cancer diagnosis. It was developed with
input from parents and children who have already faced this challenge, as well as health care professionals who
work with these families. We hope it will help you learn how others have
faced this situation so you can decide what is best for your
that you have been diagnosed with cancer, you probably have many
questions about sharing this information with your children. This
section will help you learn how others have faced this situation so you
can decide what is best for your family.
Most children will need to have some basic information about
cancer and its treatment. Here's you'll find general
areas to cover with them over the course of diagnosis and
treatment, and guidelines on how to share this information.
Guidance on what to say about your treatment, how treatment may change your
family's day-to-day life, and how to talk to your children about it all.
Children also have to cope with changes and worries when a
parent is diagnosed with cancer. Review some suggestions on how to
help them manage.
How can you tell when your children are really struggling to cope with your illness? And what
can you do if you suspect they're feeling stressed? Find general guidelines for determining when your
children need extra support and how to provide it.
Both you and your children can benefit from good two-way
communication with school personnel. This section
offers advice on how to start this important conversation, and
identifies what information teachers need to know to support your children.
You are deeply affected when your partner is diagnosed with
cancer. In addition to your worry and concern, you often have
additional emotional and practical responsibilities within the
family. This section helps you to anticipate what to expect at this
difficult time and offers suggestions for coping.
When treatment is over, your family's situation changes yet
again; getting back to normal takes time. Find tips on how to
anticipate and cope with challenges.
Included in this section are questions other parents have asked
("What if I get upset when I talk to my child?") as well as
questions that their children have asked ("Are you going to die?").
This section offers some suggestions to help you figure out what
you want to say and do.
This link provides simple, clear definitions for many of
terms you and your family may hear during your diagnosis and
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215 | Call us toll-free:
(866) 408-DFCI (3324)