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Sharing a Cancer Diagnosis with a Child 

30 September 2022CANSA announced a new resource to help parents who have been diagnosed with cancer in September, which is International Childhood Cancer awareness month, to share the news of their diagnosis with their child or children in a child-friendly way.

Anina Meiring CANSA’s Service Manager TLC expands, “CANSA TLC supports the entire family affected by cancer. Children love stories and these often provide parents with a means of broaching tricky subjects and so the ‘The Secret Warrior’ book was especially written for CANSA TLC, by creative writer and social worker, Sally Ann Carter. We understand that sharing a cancer diagnosis with a child can be heart breaking and confusing. Parents want to protect their children from hardship and grief, but it’s also important to be open about what is happening in the family and to help the child cope. This illustrated and colourful booklet will help make this a little easier for parents.”

The book’s main character, a boy named Jack, notices things are not going according to routine. As the story unfolds, his dog Lucy, a neighbour’s cat Muesli, and a doctor’s parrot Cheeky, are the friends he turns to for advice and who provide him with answers he is seeking. A simple explanation of cancer and treatment options is provided by the furry companions.

The story provides the opportunity to discuss some of the realities faced at a time of diagnosis, for example, a parent not being as active or present as usual due to side effects of cancer or treatment; a parent not being able to attend a special occasion and how to handle this positively as a family; a sudden influx of family or other people to assist around the home; changes in routine and doing things differently around the house.

Each person is unique, and this means that each child will respond in an individual manner and cope with the news of a parent’s diagnosis uniquely. An e-version, developed by HelloFCB+, will be available online on CANSA’s website and printed copies will be available at CANSA Care Centres and CANSA TLC facilities nationally. It will also be districted to nearby oncology centres and local treatment hospitals.

Parents and guardians facing a cancer diagnosis or if their children have cancer, are encouraged to contact CANSA TLC for support and to make use of CANSA’s free Tele Counselling service, which children and teens are also welcome to make use of. An appointment may be made on 0800 22 66 22 or email – the service is available in 7 languages (English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa, isiZulu, SeSotho, siSwati and Setswana).

(For more information, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at CANSA at email Call 011 616 7662 or mobile 082 459 5230.)

CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public. Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support. We offer a Tele Counselling service in seven languages free of charge. We also supply patient care and support in the form of 8 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.

Queries CANSA

 0800 22 6622 Toll Free
 072 197 9305 English and Afrikaans (text only)
 071 867 3530 isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho, Setswana and Sepedi (text only)
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CANSA Tele Counselling

 0800 22 6622 Toll Free
 072 197 9305 English and Afrikaans (text only)
 071 867 3530 isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho, Setswana and Sepedi (text only)


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