What You Don't Know About Cancer
In the United States in 2007, approximately 10,400 children under the age of 15 were diagnosed with cancer and about 1,545 children will die from the disease (NIH). Although this makes cancer the leading cause of death by disease among the U.
S. children 1 to 4 years of age, cancer is still relatively rare in this age group (American Cancer Society). Sickness can affect children’s emotions by making them feel lonely and isolated because they are at a hospital a lot or at home to rest. Children who get cancer again tend to shut down and want to be alone. General emotional responses consist of wanting to be alone, self-pettiness and strength to want to get better for the loved ones around them.
Children with cancer have various ways that they cope with their diagnosis because every child is different. The most common types of coping mechanisms are understanding their disease, helping out with their treatments, seeing progression and their love ones who help motivate them. Because a cancer diagnosis can cause emotional effects on a family and the patient, a family can create and maintain a stable home life for the siblings and the patient by understanding how the process of cancer treatment works and assessing what is best for their child and their family. Understanding the life of a cancer patient and how different it is from one who does not have cancer is very important. It is important to be there for them and still treat them like kids because they long for that acceptance of others (Nicholls). More than anything cancer patients want to try and maintain a normal life style as much as possible.
When the parents, family and friends fully understand a cancer diagnosis it makes it a lot less stressful for the patient and easier for them to cope with their illness (Hutchinson). Children look for comfort of their parents, friends and other siblings (Hutchinson). Most cancer patients are worried about how their parents are going to feel and worry about protecting them and making sure that their parents are okay, so the parents have to explain to their child that it is their job to worry as a parent (Dreyer 35). Friends think that cancer patients do not want to be bothered with them when in all reality; cancer patients need their friends the most during these times (Dreyer 77). Having friends around helps the cancer patient to feel as normal as he/she can.
Hospitals make it easy for friends to visit by adding a game room where the patient and visitor can talk, play and catch up on things (Reddoch). Most cancer patients also like to be around other cancer patients who are going through the same emotions they are so they can relate to someone else. Support groups are encouraged for the cancer patient as well as the parents because often times it opens their eyes to new things and gives them a chance to vent. Children with cancer depend on their family for support, so when the family is there to help with treatment, motivate them and support them it helps the cancer patient continue fighting and better cope with their diagnosis and feel positive about the treatment they are receiving. Works Cited American Cancer Society.
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Living with Cancer. New York: Facts on File, 2008. Print. Hutchinson, Raymond J. Personal interview.
23 Jan. 2012. Nicholls, Lauren. Personal interview. Jan. 2013.
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Personal interview. 26 Feb. 2013.