Talking to Children When a Family Member Has Cancer

Photo of a mother talk to her child


When a family member has cancer, children have questions. The important thing is to talk honestly about it.  In most cases, children who are truthfully told what’s happening from the very start will be less anxious than children whose parents try to avoid questions.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has a publication called “Helping Children When a Family Member Has Cancer:  Dealing with Treatment,” available at, is a good source for advice on how much information to give children and how to handle questions, such as “What if people ask my child about the cancer?” To listen to an hour-long podcast called “Helping Children and Teens Understand When a Parent or Loved One Has Cancer,” visit

Remember, honesty doesn’t mean telling kids everything. It means not telling a lie. Check it out and keep it in your resource file.

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