As a parent, watching your child become ill with anything is hard. You feel helpless and would do anything to take away their pain. So, what do you do when your child is diagnosed with what every parent fears most: cancer? Nobody is ever going to dispute it, it is going to be hard, really hard. But with support along the way, understanding the conditions and treatments, coping with the diagnosis and dealing with financial issues can get a little easier. You will never be alone; there are healthcare professionals, charities and groups out there for anything you need.

Understand the Diagnosis
To ever come to terms with your child’s diagnosis, you need to understand what they have. This includes what the cancer is, what it will do, and how it can be treated. There is lots of information around but the best people to talk to are the doctors and healthcare professionals around you; no question is too small or too big. Remember, everybody is different. One child’s treatment isn’t necessarily how your child’s treatment will occur and statistics are based on a large number of children, so it is best not to focus on them.

Coping with Your Feelings and Emotions
You will feel every emotion you can possibly think of during your child’s journey through cancer. When being informed of a diagnosis you may feel shocked, scared, angry, and even guilty. All of these may affect you physically and mentally such as loss of appetite, lack of sleep, and anxiety. Every parent will deal with their emotions in their own way. You may need to talk about it while other parents cope better thinking it through on their own. Respect each other’s decisions and remember there are is help out there where you can talk to other parents going through the exact same things that you are. Do not feel guilty, there is nothing you could or couldn’t do to stop your child’s diagnosis of cancer - it is caused by a DNA change in the cells and you are not to blame.

Getting Support
There is no right or wrong way to deal with your child being diagnosed with cancer. You may wish to speak to somebody one-to-one, or a group setting where you can listen to others may be more suited to you. There are plenty of kids cancer research charities that provide information and support for parents. They do great work for families with children that have been diagnosed with cancer. There are specialist nurses that deal with different pediatric cancers who will be able to answer any and every question you have and will help you deal with every up and down you may face.

The most important thing to remember is you are not alone. Often, children tend to be stronger than us and deal with their emotions in different ways. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and talk to anybody you need to, and remember family and friends are there for you too.