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Ways to Tell Your Children of Your Cancer Diagnosis

Once you have taken in the reality of your own cancer diagnosis, it can be gut wrenching to share it with your loved ones. This becomes exponentially more difficult if you have children. There are ways to tell your child of your cancer diagnosis, to be honest with them, and do so without frightening them.

Find the Right Time

It is recommended that you wait until you have all the facts before talking to your children. What is the diagnosis, where the cancer is located, what the treatment will be, and how long treatment will last are all important pieces of information you should know before speaking to children.

It’s important that you are calm and able to talk with them without becoming too emotional. If it is still too difficult for you to verbalize the situation, then put it off for another day. If you are part of a two parent family, it is beneficial for both parents to speak with the child together.

mom talking to adult daughter while she is comforting her

Find a time when you won’t be disturbed. This is crucial. You don’t want to be looking at your phone or trying to get dinner ready. You want to devote all of your time and attention to conveying the complete message and answering any questions your kids are likely going to have.

Their Ages Matter

If you have more than one child, it is probably best to speak to them separately. If they are close in age, it may work to tell them together. Obviously, you won’t explain the situation the same way to a 5 year old as you would a 12 year old, or a teen. Use phrases and explanations that they can grasp.

Don’t lie to them, but explain in a matter a fact way how life will change over the next few months for them and the entire family. This will help them be prepared and feel that they can honestly and openly communicate with you.

Plan What You Will Say

Don’t decide to “wing it.” Write notes if it helps. Think about what questions they may ask so as to be prepared with answers.

Expect There Will Be More Conversations

Don’t think you will only have one conversation with your kids. Make it known to them that they can bring additional questions (and concerns) to you anytime. Then expect it.

Calm Their Fears and Misconceptions

It is common for younger children to think that cancer is contagious, and older kids can begin to think that their discords or arguments with you caused your cancer. Reassure your children that nothing they have done, nor anybody has done, caused the cancer. Offer as much comfort as you can to them, and remind your kids that although some people can die of cancer, not all do, and you are going to fight hard to stay with them through treatments at Northwest Medical Specialties.

Contact Northwest Medical Specialties at (253) 428-8700 if you need help discussing cancer with your child.

HEALTH ALERT! For the safety of our patients and staff only patients will be allowed into our clinics and everyone MUST wear a mask. See additional information regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19).


Important COVID 19  Information for patients of Northwest Medical Specialties

November 16, 2020 Update

During these difficult times we are making every effort to keep our patients and staff safe from COVID 19, we appreciate your patience and understanding with the changes you may have seen within our practice.

We strive to protect our patients and staff as much as we possibly can from any exposure on our premises.  NWMS has implemented a system wide policy that does not allow anyone in the building that is not a patient and everyone must wear an NWMS provided mask over their mouth and nose during their time on our premises.  This is to protect our vulnerable patients from the unforeseen possibility of exposure to COVID 19 which can be transmitted through aerosol droplets.  Sadly, we have had patients that have died from the complications of COVID 19, which is both devastating and preventable.

We offer a virtual visit option for family, friends, and companions to participate in the care of our patients through Zoom.  Our staff will assist you with every step of the login process and invite you to participate in real time from your vehicle or designated safe space in our building. Please contact us at 253-428-8700 to set this up.

The following offices are temporarily closed:

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, please make sure to contact us via phone prior to your appointment. You may also contact us for any additional questions by calling our office at (253) 428-8700.

Here are a few additional resources as well:

World Health Organization

Centers for Disease Control