5 Quick Tips for Speaking With Your Child About Cancer


It is never easy to talk about cancer and much less with a child.  Whether you are helping your child cope with hearing about a friend or family member being diagnosed with cancer, keep these five tips in mind.

  • Be Honest and speak in a language the child can understand (no secrecy and no alarmist remarks".  It is okay to say "I don't know."
  • Let them ask questions and answer them as accurately as possible.  Consider their age and experience with cancer.
  • Let them know that cancer is not contagious and that no one did anything wrong. Many young children will need reassurance of this.
  • Ask them what they know and be prepared to listen.  Be prepared to discuss death with them.
  • Help the child understand side effects of cancer and what to expect as "normal" throughout this process.

This is a difficult topic to manage but also an important one that cannot be ignored.  Keeping a normal routine, open communication, being patient and honest with your child will help reduce any fear and/or anxiety your child may be experiencing, and will help reassure them that they are loved and cared for.  


For more information contact:  Christina Guerrero, MSW @ 509-670-6627

Helpful online resources are the American Cancer Society or cancer.net