Children & cancer

On this page you'll find links for:
Under 12s ι Teenagers & young adults ι Siblings ι Friends ι Young carers ι Parents, guardians and families ι Schools and kids' communities ι On grief and bereavement ι General


Children under 12

Bear-Essentials (For 4 to 12 year-olds)
An American site with activities for children that explore thoughts and feelings they may have when a parent is diagnosed with cancer. Organised in age-appropriate levels. Activity sheets can't be downloaded in Australia but can be easily adapted using plain paper and imagination.

Children's Health and Youth Service (For 6 to 12 year-olds)
Has fact sheets written in child-friendly style with colourful drawings.

Land of Pure Gold: The Buddy Book (For 6 years plus)
It's not part of a cancer website, but this story of a dog with a brain tumour can be a gentle introduction to the subject of cancer.

 

Teenagers and young adults

Nowwhat.org.au
By Canteen Australia, this site uses age-appropriate language and style, created by young people, with the support of Australian experts. Has excellent information for young people aged over 18 and dealing with uni or work when a parent or sibling has cancer. Free booklets can be ordered from the website and are highly recommended.

My Parent's Cancer
By the National Breast Cancer Centre. For 13 to 19 year olds who have a mother with breast cancer. Features personal stories and sensitive help.

 

For siblings

Livewire (For 10- to 21-year-olds)
The 'Siblings' section is an Australian social networking area for young people with a brother or sister living with a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability.

Supersibs (For 4- to 18-year-olds)
Siblings can find great information on understanding cancer, treatments, and support appropriate to their age and needs.

  

For friends

Like everyone else, young people can feel unsure of what to do or say when a friend has cancer. Learning a bit about cancer and your own reactions can help. Young people say they like the support of their friends who help them feel normal, when many things aren't normal for them.

Reachout
For 14- to 25-year-olds
A general mental health and wellbeing site for young people going through difficult times. Includes a great fact sheet on supporting a friend with a life threatening illness.

Children's Health and Youth Service
For 12- to 17-year-olds

 

Young carers (26 and under)

Young carers asked to discuss their roles have given a clear outline of the support and tools they need. These websites provide them. It's a lot harder to look after someone else if you're not looking after yourself!

www.youngcarers.net.au
By Carers Victoria, this site supports young people who are looking after or caring for someone who has a serious illness.

Reachout (For 14- to 25-year-olds)
Has a simple fact sheet on being a young carer. Good links to services, support and your rights as a young carer.

 

Parents, guardians and families

Cancer Connections
Has blogs, forums, and links for a wide range of support and services. It's possible to connect with other parents and families coping with cancer.

Macmillan Cancer Support (For 2- to 16-year-olds)
UK website that discusses very clearly how to talk about cancer with children and young people. It has fact sheets for different ages and situations and explains how to help children and young people understand what's happening.

Family Connections
A comprehensive site, that provides very detailed information for parents and guardians on issues such as how to prepare yourself to talk to your children, what questions to expect, talking to schools, information for partners and much more.

American Cancer Society
Has downloadable chapters according to individual situations; dealing with diagnosis, coping with treatment and helping a child deal with a cancer recurrence or advanced cancer.

 

For schools and kids' communities

CancerTalk (For teachers & youth workers)
An excellent site for schools and community services to help dispel commons myths. Covers facts about cancer, and class activities, getting involved, real-life experiences from teachers and young people about dealing with cancer in the school community.

Skylight (For 3 to 11-year-olds)
A New Zealand based support and resource site helping children and young people deal with change, illness, loss and grief. Has an excellent list of books and resources available at Skylight shop online.

 

About grief and bereavement

Bearing Up Club (for 6 years +)
Once a child is registered they can join an online chat room. Behind the site are well-known bereavement therapists who have written grief books for children and adults dealing with grief.

Griefnet (For 6- to 12-year-olds)
Adults can feel unprepared or fearful answering questions about grief, loss and death. This site helps support adults to answer questions and encourages children to feel confident to asking about grief, loss and death. Kids can post stories, comments, artwork and talk to each other in a kids-to-kids support group.

Children and Youth Health Services (For 6- to 18-year-olds)
Explains grief in a sensitive manner. Age appropriate information for families and others involved in the support of children and young people.

Winston's Wish (For 6 to 18-year-olds)
Well-researched information about loss, coping with change, and balancing hope with honesty. It also talks about practical ways to support children. Has DVD downloads and interactive and an interactive section – Skyscape – that's a creative, safe place for children and teenagers to reminisce and remember.

Reachout (For 14- to 25-year-olds)
Information on supporting young adults with any challenging life events; managing independence, relationship issues and grief and loss.

Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement
A list of books for children, young people, friends, parents, and teachers is also available. Has a consultancy service for healthcare professionals, psychologists, pastoral care workers and others needing information support and referral options for bereaved people in Victoria.

Mindmatters
An overview of school practices relevant to dealing with death and loss within the school. Includes a sequence of lessons for junior, middle, and senior school students.

 

General websites about children and cancer

American Cancer Society (children and cancer)
An excellent range of information specific to dealing with children.

Camp Quality
Provides camping and recreation for children with cancer (birth through to 18 years).

CanTeen
Offers meetings, camps, education seminars and outings for young people affected by cancer – patients, siblings and offspring.

Challenge House Cancer Support Network
Provides recreation-based camping and support for children and adolescents under 18 years receiving treatment for cancer, and their parents.

Children's Cancer Centre, Royal Children's Hospital
Largest partner in the Victorian Paediatric Integrated Cancer Services (PICS) and the only provider of complex children's cancer care and stem cell transplantation in Victoria.

Children's Leukaemia and Cancer Research Foundation
When his daughter was diagnosed with leukaemia in 1977, Peter Harper, discovered there was no research into children's leukaemia being done in WA, he set out to raise funds for this purpose.

Kids Helpline
A free, confidential telephone, email and web counselling service for 5- to 18-year-olds.

Make A Wish Foundation of Australia
Grants wishes to children under 18 years who have a life-threatening illness.

Ronald McDonald House - Parkville
Provides accommodation for families of children suffering from cancer-related diseases and other life-threatening illnesses, who are receiving treatment at the Royal Children's Hospital.

Starlight Foundation
Grants wishes to chronically and terminally ill children.

Very Special Kids House
Provides support to families who have children with a progressive life-threatening illness, including respite and palliative care, and to bereaved families.

Victorian Paediatric Palliative Care Program
A consultation-liaison program including Monash Medical Centre and Very Special Kids. Available as a resource from time of diagnosis into bereavement for families and health professionals.

When a parent has cancer: how to talk to children (resource)
A Cancer Council NSW resource.

Make a book

This example by Tayla and her grandma:

Where is Mummy? book
Where is Mummy?


Updated: 05 Aug, 2013