Talking to Kids About Cancer (PDF Download)

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Explaining a diagnosis of cancer to children or teenagers can feel difficult and overwhelming. This book is designed as a starting point for having this conversation. Talking sensitively and honestly about the diagnosis can provide children with reassurance during a time of uncertainty and change.

Talking to Kids About Cancer focuses on when a parent has cancer, but much of the discussion will be relevant for anyone who needs to explain a cancer diagnosis to children or teenagers - for example, when a child's sibling or friend has cancer, when their grandparent or another significant adult has cancer, or when a child has cancer.

Different chapters offer tips on talking to children throughout all stages of cancer, from breaking the news about a cancer diagnosis to coping with life after treatment. The book includes quotes and stories from people who have been affected by cancer (with some names changed for confidentiality), along with examples of what a parent or carer might want to say. These are just ideas and you will need to adapt what you say to suit your children's ages and their individual personalities - you know your children best and can judge their ability to understand things.

You may like to share this book with grandparents, teachers, school counsellors, family friends and neighbours - anyone who talks with your children - to ensure they hear a consistent message about cancer and how it may affect your family.

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