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Helping Your Child When Their Friend Has Cancer

cancer in children

September is Children’s Cancer Awareness Month

September is traditionally a month that cancer organizations focus some attention on children’s cancer. There are events for raising research money and general awareness. There are also activities focused on educating people about different types of children’s cancer, treatment options, and how to be a good caregiver to your sick child.

We are going to focus on something a little different for Children’s Cancer Awareness Month. At Rock the Treatment, we decided it was important to provide a little guidance on how to help your child when their friend has cancer. It can be difficult for young people to understand what is happening to their friend, how their relationship might change, and what they can do to be helpful.

One thing your child can do is send a children’s cancer gift basket from Rock the Treatment. Our baskets contain items that can provide physical and emotional comfort to a child getting cancer treatments. A gift basket from Rock the Treatment is one excellent way for your child to let their friend know they care.

How to Help Your Child Cope with a Friend’s Cancer Diagnosis

Friends are an important part of any cancer journey, especially that of a child. Friends can provide a sense of normalcy, comfort, and distraction for children getting cancer treatments. But, it can be especially challenging for young people to navigate a friend’s cancer diagnosis and the changes that might occur. Here is some information to share with your child that can help.

Spend time together if you can. Try hard to be yourself and to treat your friend the same as always. Remember that despite having cancer, looking different, or feeling tired, your friend is still the same person you have always enjoyed being with. It might be scary or a little awkward at first, but your friend needs this.

If you can’t be together in person, find other ways to stay in touch. Your friend probably misses being at school or social events as they undergo treatments. Try to stay connected to them in whatever ways you can. Texting, facetime or zoom calls, group chats/calls, and playing online games together are great ways to make your friend feel less lonely. You can gather a group of people to make cards or funny videos to send. Anything you can do to help your friend feel connected can be a wonderful gift to them.

Offer your help. It can be hard for your friend to ask for help. Offer it instead. You might be able to bring them homework assignments or help with a project.

Learn a bit about children’s cancer. Learning about cancer treatments and side effects might help you to understand what is happening in your friend’s body as they fight their cancer. It is ok to ask questions – parents, teachers, and doctors can give you more information. Your friend’s parents might also be willing to talk about your friend’s cancer, prognosis, and treatment.
Be a good listener. Try to figure out if your friend wants to talk about their cancer. Sometimes they might, and sometimes they might not – either choice is fine, and you should respect it. You might sense they just want a distraction from cancer with jokes, stories, games, movies, or other activities that feel “normal.”

Take care of yourself too. Being a good friend to someone with cancer is not always easy for anyone. Your feelings might be complicated. You might feel angry, guilty, sad, worried, or confused. Consider keeping a journal or speaking with trusted adults about your feelings. It is important to take care of your needs.

Send Children’s Cancer Gift Baskets

At Rock the Treatment, we make it easy to let someone with cancer know you care and support them on their difficult journey. If someone you love has  cancer, send a helpful cancer gift basket from Rock The Treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation gift baskets are packed with the essentials needed to ease side effects of treatment, as well as enhance physical and mental well-being. See all of our cancer care packages and find the one that best supports their journey.



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