One of the most common challenges among parents and those around cancer-stricken is how to treat their child after being diagnosed with cancer. The simplest answer is that it is very important to talk to the child about their illness. Most children in different stages of the treatment experience a wide range of emotions such as anxiety, fear, anger, and sadness during which the calm and patient behavior of others plays a big role in managing these conditions.
“One of the main questions of parents after diagnosing their child with cancer is whether to shield their child from information about the illness or share the truth with them. However, the encounter of the children with their illness at any age can gives them a great shock but it can be demonstrated with lower emotional reaction if the child is younger or with limited information.” Maryam MohammadAli, head of MAHAK psychology department said.
She continued: “It should be considered that the children up to seven have no comprehension of serious illness, life or death concept. Given that, it is recommended that parents do not explain the illness in details to not increase the child’s anxiety level. However, due to developmental level of children after seven years old, family members must provide them with the information about the disease through psychologists and specialists’ assistance. For example, the side effects of chemotherapy should be explained in a clear but understandable manner, so that they don’t get scared by facing with external changes such as hair and eyebrow loss, dark circles under the eyes, and physical weakness.”
Emphasizing the role of family in treatment process she added: “people around the child should, directly and indirectly, convey this message to the patient that you are not alone in this difficult path and the family is always by your side.”
Maryam Mohammad Ali wished health to all sick children and said: “Psychologists and counselors in MAHAK are in contact with all sick kids throughout the country whether face-to-face or via telephone to provide a support system for children and their families until complete remission.