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    For young adults – cancer and your family

    If you’re a young person diagnosed with cancer you probably have lots of questions about how it will affect your family. While every family is different and has its own strengths and quirks, it may be helpful to consider some common questions. Click on a section below to see some tips and hints, as well as recommendations for further reading. Cancer Advisor has a range of resources for young people facing cancer, but we’re always looking for more content. Leave a comment below, share your own story or recommend a resource.

  • Tosh’s story: how he helped end his daughter’s cancer

    After more than two years of chemotherapy, Tosh Nagashima helped end his daughter’s cancer. Cancer Advisor called him to talk about his family’s experience. In March 2014 four-year-old Bella was diagnosed with high-risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL). After arriving at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne in an ambulance, Bella started chemotherapy immediately. During treatment, Bella’s father continued to work full-time and take care of their youngest daughter Olivia while his wife Vanie spent day and night in the hospital. “After work I would visit Bella in the hospital every day,” he explains. “It was hard for her younger sister Read more [...]

  • Caring for a son with cancer

    This New York Times documentary follows the story of Regina Hensley and her son Andrew as he fights an aggressive form of cancer, Ewing’s Sarcoma. For years, Regina Hensley struggled with addiction, even once attempting suicide. When her son Andrew was born, he gave her a reason to live. But when he received his diagnosis at 13 years old, Regina had to search for meaning once again. ‘Without Andrew, I can’t imagine what life would be about.’ -Regina Hensley In response to the documentary, the Times received almost 100 responses from parents who were caring for a sick child. Cancer Advisor Read more [...]

  • Rhi’s story: adjusting to a new normal after cancer treatment

    My son Connor was diagnosed with cancer at three years old. Thankfully he is currently in remission. Now that I finally have spare moments to breathe and reflect upon the whole traumatic journey of childhood cancer I have to admit that one of the most difficult parts was coming home. When my son was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma At the time of diagnosis we lived in Collinsville, a small mining community in rural North Queensland. Initially we were flown to Townsville hospital. After three days and much investigation we were transferred to Brisbane via Royal Flying Doctors. Our oncologist Read more [...]

  • Ritchie’s story: Caring for a child with cancer and Down syndrome

    In January Ritchie Farrugia was told his six-year-old daughter Bella had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia also known as ALL. Bella also has Down syndrome and at the time of diagnosis, Ritchie had already been her full-time carer for the last four years. Cancer Advisor spoke to him about being a dad in a children’s hospital ward and how Down syndrome affects cancer treatment. What’s it like being a dad in a children’s hospital ward? The first few months I stayed at the hospital full-time with Bella. My wife’s back is not too good, not that mine was great but, it was Read more [...]

  • Keeping your child healthy during cancer remission

    This factsheet from US website familydoctor.org offers some information and tips for parents when their child finishes treatment. Whether your child is in partial or complete remission, you may have questions like ‘what do I do next?’ and fears like ‘what if the cancer comes back?’ This article covers some topics including: Nutrition and exercise, Keeping records of your child’s treatment, and Late effects. To end this resources suggests Questions to ask your doctor such as: What kinds of symptoms should I look for that mean I should call you? What doctors should my child see now that the cancer is Read more [...]

  • 8 lessons in childhood cancer

    The Kids Cancer Project has published a personal story by Sarah Weir who offers her eight lessons in childhood cancer. She writes: “Life for our family changed forever in 2013 when our two-year-old baby girl was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. For four years, Evie Grace endured surgeries and seemingly endless treatment only to relapse four times before gaining her angel wings on 19 December 2017. Throughout our cancer journey, because my husband Josh and daughter Alicia shared it too, there were moments of extreme joy alongside the heart wrenching pain. Here are a few lessons I learned along the way.” Her lessons include: Read more [...]

  • Kids Kicking Cancer: martial arts therapy

    Kids Kicking Cancer is a not-for-profit organisation that teaches the mind-body techniques of Martial Arts instruction, breath work and meditation to empower children beyond the pain and discomfort of disease. Kids Kicking Cancer now offers help and services to not only cancer patients, but any child in pain from a serious illness. They currently operate the Heroes’ Circle program in America, Canada, Israel and Italy and support ill children and their siblings aged 3-23 years old. Using martial arts therapy, Kids Kicking Cancer staff teaches ill children and their siblings to: Regain a sense of control over the chaos of their Read more [...]

  • For teachers: 5 ways to help a student with cancer

    This article by We Are Teachers offers teachers some guidance on how to welcome a child back to school after cancer treatment. Children undergoing cancer treatment often miss significant amounts of class, and returning back to school can be a daunting experience. Teachers have an important role to play in ensuring the child has a smooth transition back into the classroom environment. This article covers some tips for teachers to help: Roll out – or roll up – the red carpet Personalise the learning Include the student in ALL class activities Facilitate friendships Talk to the child about everyday things Cancer Read more [...]

  • Raising a child with cancer as a single mother

    On the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario website, Ashmara talks about raising her daughter as a single mother. Ashmara’s daughter Adaejah also has down syndrome. Cancer Advisor has a range of personal stories, but we’re always looking for more content. Leave a comment below, share your own story or recommend a resource.

  • Single parenting a child with cancer – Ariel’s Story

    Single Parenting a Child with Cancer is an article by Roswell Park Cancer Centre about mother Ariel and her daughter, Natalie. Natalie was diagnosed with stage 3 embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (a rare form of cancer) at four years old. Ariel offers up her tips such as find your tribe, ask for help, ask questions, be gentle with yourself and keep the faith.   Cancer Advisor has a range of personal stories, but we’re always looking for more content. Leave a comment below, share your own story or recommend a resource.

  • Checklist developed for parents of children with cancer

    Monthly Prescribing Reference (MPR) have reported on a standardized, time-sensitive checklist for parents of children newly diagnosed with cancer. It was developed by academics from Duke University in Durham. You can read the full study here. According to the article the checklist covers: who and when to call for help medication dose/frequency, and postoperative wound care side effects of cancer treatment and nutrition risky behaviors to avoid coping skills insurance issues Cancer Advisor has a range of resources for parents of children with cancer, but we’re always looking for more content. Leave a comment below, share your own story or recommend a resource.

  • “TJ’s Cancer Journey” – A mum’s blog about her teenager

    TJ’s Cancer Journey is a blog about my 15-year-old son who was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma at the age of 14. I am documenting my son’s journey with cancer so that one day he can look back at it and remember everything he went through during this difficult time. Hopefully our experiences will be able to help others who are going through similar. It is a journal of his cancer experience so far and includes: how he felt when he was diagnosed; how cancer has affected him and those around him; what treatment he is receiving; what tests he has completed; Read more [...]

  • Speaking up for your child with cancer

    In this two-page factsheet, the Paediatric Integrated Cancer Service (PICS) offers guidance on advocating for your child. They have also compiled tips by parents for parents on speaking up for your child with cancer. The factsheet says: “Being an advocate for your child means speaking up for them. This can take considerable courage. There are many reasons why you may wish to speak up for your child while he or she is receiving treatment. It is always important that you do so. These are tips compiled by parents, for parents, to help make the experience a little easier.” Cancer Advisor Read more [...]

  • Living without your child: for parents and carers

    Living without your child is a nine-page booklet written using the real experiences of bereaved parents about life after your child dies. It was adapted from CLIC Sargent by Redkite. This booklet is a part of a series which also includes When your child isn’t going to get better and When your child dies. The booklet has sections including: Understanding your grief Dealing with other people Supporting your other children Family and friends Your child’s personal belongings Your child’s room Will I ever be happy again? Cancer Advisor has a range of resources on end of life, but we’re always looking for more content. Leave a Read more [...]

  • Cancer dads: you’re not alone

    Cancer Dads: You’re Not Alone is a personal story written by Matt Kabel on the St Baldrick’s Foundation website. Earlier this year, Matt wrote about what it’s really like to be a father of a child with cancer. “The post took off and was shared on social media more than anything I had ever written before,” Matt said. The response moved him to start a private Facebook page that is an online support group called Childhood Cancer Dads Support Group. Matt shares what he’s learned since then, with photos submitted by dads in his group. “Every dad who applies is personally vetted prior to being Read more [...]

  • Rhabdoid tumour at 5 months old – Kirsty’s story

    At 5 months old,  Mason was sent to the Emergency Department for stomach pains. Two days later, the hospital began surgery to remove a tumour and his right kidney. Five days later Mason was diagnosed with rhabdoid tumour, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. On the Cancer Council website, Mason’s Kirsty talks about her baby’s cancer diagnosis, life-saving surgery, 30 weeks of chemotherapy, radiation and being five years cancer-free. Cancer Advisor has a range of personal stories, but we’re always looking for more content. Leave a comment below, share your own story or recommend a resource.

  • The finish line after leukaemia treatment

    My daughter Ruby recently completed her two years of treatment for Leukaemia. This story, that was published on Mamamia, offers some top tips from Ruby about what she has learned (she is only 6) and what I, as a cancer mum, have discovered. My advice for any mum in the same position Allow yourself to feel. If you feel sad, then cry. If you are angry, then scream. If you are happy, then laugh. Don’t pretend you are okay when you are not. Don’t be too proud to ask for help. We all need help sometimes, and there are so many people Read more [...]

  • Six lessons in fatherhood and childhood cancer

    Six lessons in fatherhood from a journey with childhood cancer is a blog written by Larry Vincent – a father whose daughter has been fighting brain cancer for over 13 years. Larry outlines the six lessons he has learnt throughout his cancer experience. The blog is framed as advice for other fathers who may be starting their family cancer journey, and is thoughtful and relevant to Australian families. Cancer Advisor has a range of resources for dads experiencing childhood cancer, but we’re always looking for more content. Leave a comment below, share your own story or recommend a resource.

  • What’s behind the mask of a Cancer Dad?

    What’s behind the mask of a Cancer Dad? is a collection of short quotes from anonymous fathers who have a child with cancer. The quotes were collected by author Mark Meyers whose youngest daughter died of Ewing’s Sarcoma in 2015.  Each quote begins with I think you should know that … Examples of quotes include: I think you should know that on some level I feel like this is my fault. I think you should know that I would have died for my baby but wasn’t given the option. I think you should know that not only did I wonder “Why my Read more [...]