Cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases in the world. Cancers attack patients from their insides, disrupting lives, causing excruciating changes to a person’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, and burdens families.
Medical care to treat cancer oftentimes outstretched a family’s finances – unless they were protected by a quality insurance policy. Medical care, however, is not the only care that cancer patients require, and caring for a child
battling cancer is essentially a full-time job that requires all hands on deck.
Based on advice from numerous medical professionals, paediatricians, and associations like the American Cancer Society, some of the most important things to consider when caring for a Child battling Cancer are:
The child will likely be scared, confused, and in some cases, feel a sense of guilt or unworthiness. It’s important to let them know that being ill is not their fault. It is also important to explain their diagnosis to them in a manner that is appropriate for their age, and that factors in their mental wellbeing. For example, instead of saying, “You have stage 4 cancer and the doctors don’t think they will be able to stop it”, you can instead say, “Well the doctor explained that the cancer cells had a little head-start and are working hard, causing you to be sick. So all of us will have to work even harder than those cells so we can get rid of them! You have all of us here to help”.
It is also important to take the child’s questions even if you’re unable to answer them right away, you can talk to a medical professional, and always remember to translate any information to be shared in an age-appropriate and optimistic manner.
- Create Routines
Depending on the nature of the cancer, a child may require vigorous healthcare. This could mean that they would be unable to attend school, might be hospitalized for extended periods, and unable to hang out with family and friends like they used to. Creating routines that factor in playtime, communicating with family and friends, medical care, and even snack time, can maintain a sense of normalcy for the anxious child. Although their life would be undergoing significant change, having a consistent routine gives them some semblance of comfort by knowing what they can expect day in day out.
- Keep them Included
To protect children with vulnerable health conditions, families sometimes leave them out of ‘the action’. This can be tremendously damaging to a child’s self-esteem and morale. It is important to find out from the doctors what the child CANNOT do or engage in and to also ask what are some activities that they can participate in. Family road trips, pool visits, playtime, and other leisure activities are important to every single child – especially those who spend significant time away in hospitals or bed receiving care. So long as the doctor approves it as safe, a sick child should be included in as many normal activities that are possible. It’s a huge morale boost that cannot be substituted by any medication or treatment.
There are countless other pieces of advice for families who find themselves in this position, and we encourage you to explore them from accredited medical journals should you ever find yourself in this position. It can be a tense, gloomy, and challenging time for anyone, but certainly is a situation in which families have to dig deep, hold hands, and press forward with an action plan and consideration for everyone involved.
Be sure to talk to your RF&G Life Insurance Advisor to prepare your family to have one less thing to worry about if any medical strife were to impact you or your loved ones.