When you have a child who has been diagnosed with brain cancer, you may feel as if you are completely helpless to provide them with the care and support that they will need going forward. However, while you cannot control the fact that they developed brain tumors, there are things that you can do to help them cope and help ensure that they are getting the treatment and care that they need to fight their cancer and overcome this unexpected obstacle in their life.
Explain The Situation To Your Child In Terms They Can Understand
If your child is young, it can be very difficult for them to grasp the concept of cancer in general, let alone brain tumors and cancer. Under the age of three, your child will likely not be able to understand cancer itself. However, you could explain to them that they have "owies" inside their head that the doctors are trying to fix.
Even at ages above three years old, your child may have trouble grasping complex concepts associated with cancer. Use very simple terminology and explanations to introduce the concept to them. You will also need to explain the treatment process to them so they do not react badly every time you take them in for treatment. For example, you can explain radiation therapy in simple terms to them by saying they will get invisible medicine that will not hurt.
Of course, as your child gets older and/or curious about what is going on, you can begin to fill in details and explain the situation more comprehensively. You just do not want to overwhelm them with too much information that they will not necessarily understand upfront.
Make Sure They Have A Holistic Care Team
Cancer treatment is not just about the surgical or medical treatment of the disease. Your child and family will need mental and emotional support in order to handle the situation. This can include family therapists, spiritual support in the form of a priest or other religious representative, alternative medicine practitioners like massage therapists, and many other care providers.
When it comes to your child, how their oncology treatments are approached can have an impact on their mental and emotional states. In fact, a recent study showed that children who receive what is known as a play-based preparation for their radiation therapy for brain tumors have improved attitudes and need fewer sedatives to receive their treatments.
These preparations can be performed by what is known as a child life specialist or a child therapist who specializes in working with children with cancer. The idea is to ensure that your child knows what to expect from their treatments so that they are not scared or upset. This type of support can help both you and your child cope with their brain cancer treatments.
Now that you know a few of the steps that you can take to help your child when they are being treated for brain tumors, you can better handle the situation and ensure your child gets the care that they need.