Supportive Care at the Joan Karnell Cancer Center
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Level of Understanding and Developmental Stage

  • Self-centered and self-reliant; working towards independence.
  • Friends are very important, but they remain dependent on their families.
  • May feel conflicted about being independent and wanting to be close to their ill parent.
  • Understand the significance of cancer and serious illnesses and will be concerned with their parent's pain.

Helping Them Cope

  • Be honest and clear with them about your diagnosis and treatment.
  • Include your child in decision making when possible.
  • Encourage them to maintain their normal routine and activities. Their friends are an important source of support.
  • Offer to speak with their friends’ parents to explain what is happening.
  • Reassure the child that they are healthy and it is not their fault that their parent is sick.


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Need an appointment? Request one online 24 hours/day, 7 days/week or call 800-789-PENN (7366) to speak to a referral counselor.

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