Your child after Treatment
After treatment some children will continue or begin to experience problems. These development problems include growth, intellectual development, problems with the heart, lungs and kidneys as well emotional development. Help is available.
Key Concerns raised by children following treatment include:
- Being different (not being able to do as their friend do)
- Weight gain (especially having a ‘moon’ face and ‘puffiness’)
- Hair loss/having to wear a wig
- Slurred speech and poor vision
- Co-ordination problems/ being in a wheel chair
- Always feeling tired, missing out on favourite activities
- Having to wear a hearing aid
- Not being as tall as their friends
- Not being able to do PE /balance problems
- Memory problems/finding school work hard
- Having to have different food (special diets)
- Over protective parents/lack of independence
- Fear of injury ‘getting bumped’ ‘breaking limbs’
- Loss of confidence and loss of friendships
Leading a healthy lifestyle can have a positive effect on reducing the side effects of cancer treatments and the progression of the cancer.
Many children miss swimming (an activity few have been able to do during treatment). It may help to speak with a swimming instructor to help your child slowly increase their fitness.
Going to school gives children a sense of normality and many will wish to return as soon as they are able. Older children may be anxious about returning to school due to their personal appearance, loss of friends or peer related anxiety. Some children say teachers, friends and peers all treat them differently since their illness. There are concerns about being excluded from the group of friends and children preferring to play with other more able bodied children. Well meaning teachers can further alienate children with cancer from their peers.
Whilst many children receive tutoring from a hospital teacher, they may still struggle when they return to school. Generally speaking, children best cope if there has been liaison between the child’s school teacher and the hospital teacher.
Children frequently worry about looking different. Especially, those who have had chemotherapy and have lost their hair. Other children’s curiosity can be very upsetting. Some children tell of being ‘bullied’ for the way they now look or act.
The first step to overcoming problems is to talk with the school head about your child’s concerns and to make sure that the teachers and children have an understanding of your child’s needs and wishes.
It’s important to make sure everyone involved in the care of your child fully understands their needs and that the teachers are aware of visual and hearing impairments.
Children are often very open talking about their cancer. Sometimes they use art or creative writing to express their feelings.
If you believe your child may benefit from art therapy, talk to us. Joss Searchlight funds art therapy to help children throughout their illness.