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How To Talk to Kids About Cancer

Of the many questions we get asked, among the most difficult is the question, “How do I talk to my child about cancer?”

Cancer is not contagious. Cancer is also not a singular disease but any of a group of medical issues that begin with abnormal cell growth. We can talk about cancer in entirely new ways because we have learned so much more about cells and genes since genome sequencing has become possible, As a result, It is no longer where the cancer is (as in lung, pancreas, brain) but what it is. By understanding what type of tumor or cell characteristics exist, doctors can make better decisions. The more genes we can sequence and test our data against, the better the chances of a good outcome. Big data, large data repositories make a difference.

talk about the Alphabet soup of drugs and chemicals (photo)

talk about the alphabet soup of drugs and chemicals

Today, cancer is still fought primarily through surgery, chemo and radiation but also, because of cancer research and computer tools, more targeted therapies are possible. Precision Medicine is that area of treatment that focuses precisely on a cancer based on its characteristics. More survivors, more solutions through research.

We have found some really good pages on the web, written for children, to answer their questions. You can help them understand what cancer is and how to talk about it by checking out some of these resources.

RESOURCES:

BIOLOGY FOR KIDS:  What is cancer? Here are some simple easy explanations http://www.ducksters.com/science/biology/cancer.php

FOR YOUNGER KIDS:  We recommend: Wonderopolis – Have you ever wondered “what is cancer?” What are tumors? What is metastasis?  They give great answers http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/what-is-cancer

FOR HIGHLY SCIENTIFIC KIDS WHO WANT FACTS: This adult presentation answers the unasked question – are all tumors cancerous? (No!) and it provides simple visuals and language to explain the very scary brain cancers  http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/cbbb

Have you found other materials, resources and words that help you talk to children about cancer?  Please share them with us. We will help compile and pass along the information to others in need.

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