Coping and supportBy Mayo Clinic staff
When your child is diagnosed with cancer, it's common to feel a range of emotions — from shock and disbelief to guilt and anger. In the midst of this emotional roller coaster, you're expected to make decisions about your child's treatment. It can be overwhelming.
If you're feeling lost, you might try to:
- Gather all the information you need. Find out enough about neuroblastoma to feel comfortable making decisions about your child's care. Talk with your child's health care team. Keep a list of questions to ask at the next appointment. Visit your local library and ask for help searching for information. Consult the websites of the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society for more information.
- Organize a support network. Find friends and family who can help support you as a caregiver. Loved ones can accompany your child to doctor visits or sit by his or her bedside in the hospital when you can't be there. When you're with your child, your friends and family can help out by spending time with your other children or helping around your house.
- Take advantage of resources for children with cancer. Seek out special resources for families of kids with cancer. Ask your clinic's social workers about what's available. Support groups for parents and siblings put you in touch with people who understand what you're feeling. Your family may be eligible for summer camps, temporary housing and other support.
Maintain normalcy as much as possible. Small children can't understand what's happening to them as they undergo cancer treatment. To help your child cope, try to maintain a normal routine as much as possible.
Try to arrange appointments so that your child can have a set nap time each day. Have routine mealtimes. Allow time for play when your child feels up to it. If your child must spend time in the hospital, bring items from home that help him or her feel more comfortable.
Ask your health care team about other ways to comfort your child through his or her treatment. Some hospitals have recreation therapists or child-life workers who can give you more-specific ways to help your child to cope.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed Sept. 19, 2012.
- Davenport KP, et al. Pediatric malignancies: Neuroblastoma, Wilm's tumor, hepatoblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and sacroccygeal teratoma. Surgical Clinics of North America. 2012;92:745.
- Abeloff MD, et al. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-4/0/1709/0.html. Accessed Sept. 19, 2012.
- Neuroblastoma treatment (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/neuroblastoma/patient. Accessed Sept. 19, 2012.
- NageswaraRao AA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 1, 2012.