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Emotional support and pyschological help for parents
The diagnosis of your child with cancer is an emotional and psychological blow. You do not have to tough it out alone, there are many established groups and organizations ready to help, or you might decide to seek professional help.
When your child is diagnosed with cancer, you probably turn first to your family, friends, and church for help. You need the presence of people who not only care for you, but who try hard to understand what you are feeling. Another great source of support is other parents of children with cancer, since they are going through the same thing that you are and probably already know what you are feeling. Plus, these parents have many helpful hints on treatment issues. Cancer parent groups exist both as in-person or online support groups, as outlined below.
Face-to-face Groups. Ask the social worker at your hospital or clinic if there is a support group in your community. Or, check our list of national support organizations for childhood cancer(s) to see if a chapter exists in your area:
- childhood cancer support organizations - ped-onc list
Online Groups. Sometimes a face-to-face group does not exist in your area, or if it does, you are unable to attend the meetings, or maybe you prefer online communication. Since the mid-1990s, many online e-mail groups, message boards, and chat rooms have been established. Check the ped-onc page of online support groups for one appropriate for you. This page (linked below) provides both a list of the groups and a discussion of issues concerning this mode of communication.
- childhood cancer online support groups - ped-onc expanded section and list
Many parents find it helpful to seek out mental health care professionals to help them explore the difficult feelings (fear, anger, depression, anxiety, resentment, guilt) that cancer arouses. The links below provide some help for you in your decision as to whether or not you would benefit from professional counseling. Help is provided by professionals with different levels of training: psychotherapists, psychologists, social workers, pastoral care, psychiatrists (MDs), or counselors.
Resources: Web sites
- Cancer.gov web site General support information.
- American Psychological Association The American Psychological Association (APA) has an online consumer Help Center. They have some sections concerning the psychological effects of cancer on families.
These pages are intended for informational purposes only and are not intended to render medical advice. The information provided on Ped Onc Resource Center should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you suspect your child has a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.