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Treat Parents of Children with Cancer Compassionately

Child with CancerThings You SHOULD NOT Say:

God only gives people what they can handle…
Most people cannot handle the stress of having a child with cancer

It’s God’s Will…
This is just not a helpful thing to hear when you are helpless to help your child

Well, we are all going to die one day…
While this may be true, parents of very ill children do not need to be reminded of this fact

I know just how you feel…
Unless you have a child with cancer, you simply CAN’T and DON’T know

They are doing such wonderful things to save children with cancer these days…
Even if the prognosis is good, the experience of both parents and children, is far from wonderful

At least you can have other kids…
NB: A child CANNOT be replaced

When will her hair grow back? | She’s lost so much weight | He looks pale…
Avoid making comments like these in front of the child

Talking about cancer all the time…
Normal conversations are a welcome relief

What if…
Avoid ‘what if’ questions like ‘what if she can’t go back to school…’ the present is all these parents are able to deal with

Let us know if there is anything we can do…
Offer specific, practical support and care

Yes, these are actual remarks that parents whose children have had cancer, have had to endure from well-meaning friends, family and colleagues…

Be Available to Support Parents

While it may be tempting to stay away when a child has been diagnosed with cancer – DON’T! Parents need your support. Just think about what you are saying – is it helpful? Also avoid burdening parents by crying or breaking down and do not call constantly for news, as this can place additional pressure on parents.


For more information or advice, please email or phone our Toll Free Call Centre on 0800 22 66 22.

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