Being in hospital with your child

female doctors examining little child boyTo prepare a treatment plan the treatment team will look at factors such as the type of cancer, stage of the illness, your child’s age and general health. A treatment plan will outline the exact type of treatment, how often your child will receive treatment, and how long it will last. Each treatment plan is individual; even children with the same type of cancer may receive different treatments, e.g. they may have different types of chemotherapy.

The types of treatment used to treat cancer are surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell transplantation.

These treatments are used to destroy cancer cells. Depending on the type of cancer, children may have one kind of treatment or a combination of treatments. Most children receive combination therapy.

Before treatment begins, your child’s consultant will discuss the treatment plan with you, the benefits, risks, and side effects. You will be asked to give your written consent to go ahead with your child’s treatment.

The treatment plan may seem complicated however, the treatment team will explain each step. Many parents find it helpful to get a copy of the treatment plan to refer to as the treatment proceeds. It also helps them in arranging their own schedules. Ask questions if you feel something is not going right. If you feel as though you need extra time schedule a phone call with your child’s consultant.

Side effects of cancer treatment

  • The kinds of side effects and how bad they will be depend on the kind of drug, the dosage together with the way your child’s body reacts.
  • Not every child gets every side effect.
  • Side effects occur because thecancer treatment that kills cancer cells can damage some normal cells, too.
  • Treatments for cancer can cause unpleasant side effects such as nausea, hair loss, and diarrhea.
  • The treatment team have ways to lessen your child’s side effects.
  • Lowering the treatment dosage slightly to eliminate unpleasant side effects usually will not make the treatment less able to destroy cancer cells or hurt your child’s chances of recovery.

Helping Your Child Face Fears

Your child is likely to have many worries about being in hospital, encourage your child to talk about their fears. Suggestions that might help your child face surgery:

  • Find out all you can about your child’s treatment plan.
  • To give the correct answers to your child’s questions, you will need to find out as much as possible about what will happen.
  • Be honest with your child, they may lose trust in you if what you say does not match what actually happens
  • Ask the treatment team to demonstrate. To help children get ready for treatments, many children may be shown the procedure on a toy.

Adorable young girl giving large bear a health check up with toy stethoscope. Shot in studio over white.

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