Cancer Treatment Centers of America

How to talk with your child about cancer

how to talk to your children about cancer

A cancer diagnosis affects the whole family. Understandably, many parents worry how they will explain cancer with the right balance of information, so kids feel informed but safe.

Whether it’s you or someone close to your child who has cancer, like a grandparent or even a friend, most experts encourage talking about it with your child as early as possible.

Discussing your concerns about the conversation with friends and family can help you work through the best approach for your child. These resources may help, too:

  • CancerCare for Kids - This nonprofit offers free support and education for people affected by cancer, including a wonderful guide with 10 quick tips for talking with your kids about a cancer diagnosis.
  • Kimmie Cares - These tools take the pressure off of parents to explain cancer to young children. Books, like Mommy and Me, explain what cancer is and how it might affect the family. Dolls show the changes in appearance that can happen during cancer treatment.
  • Gilda’s Club - This organization and many others like it offer playful, age-appropriate activities, like workshops and summer camps, for kids and teens to participate in when a parent or loved one has cancer.