Need For Psycho-social Support To Children With Cancer

Cancer continues to have adverse effects on these children, its ripple effect is seen in the form of depleting mental health

According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 4,00,000 children between the age of 0 and 19 are diagnosed with cancer. While cancer continues to have adverse effects on these children, its ripple effect is seen in the form of depleting mental health.

Cancer treatment is physically and emotionally taxing, not only for the patient but for their entire family. It removes their sense of security, brings uncertainty, worry, and anxiety, and destabilises their lives.

These emotional concerns linked with cancer should not be ignored. It is equally vital while they receive therapy for the physical components of the disease.

How can you do it?

Children should prioritise learning about cancer to significantly improve their quality of life. This knowledge can make the condition seem less mysterious and terrifying. In this regard, information from a doctor and other trustworthy sources would be highly beneficial.

Furthermore, having cancer may alter how a child interacts with family, relatives, or friends. Sometimes, families may discover that the stress of a cancer diagnosis and treatment deepens their relations with loved ones. While some bonding can provide much-needed support, others may cause unexpected anxiety and stress. For instance, their friends might not understand what they are dealing with and make fun of unavoidable symptoms like hair loss. A social professional or child-life specialist can assist children in determining what they would and would not like to discuss with their friends. Friends may be able to see the child if it is possible and when they are ready. Based on their doctor's advice, children may also be able to engage in school and other activities.

Some therapies may also cause weight changes. Meeting a certified dietician can assist the child in obtaining the nutrients their body requires to remain strong during treatment.

It is good to encourage children to communicate with others who can help them through text messages, video chats, phone conversations, or social media.

Finding the Silver Lining

Severe anxiety, sadness, or other psychological distress may, if left untreated, make it hard for cancer survivors to attend to their healthcare needs.

Cancer therapy alters a child's life and outlook significantly. Others can assist children by allowing them to lead as normal a life as possible. It would be beneficial for families to consult with the child's healthcare provider and discuss what to expect during treatment to be better prepared.

Children staying at St Judes while undergoing cancer treatment find a 'home away from home' at the Centres. They provide free, safe and sanitary accommodation, transportation to and from treatment centres, primary education, counselling, and holistic nutrition to underprivileged cancer patients travelling with their parents from rural/semi-urban areas to major cities in search of the best cancer treatment. The holistic care offered at St Judes tries to close the gap between what the hospital provides and what the children need to fight cancer better.


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