Cancer, common amongst women, especially during the motherhood age, has enough literature stressing the importance of communication between the patient and their families, but very little information is actually available, to help a parent, newly diagnosed with cancer, communicate the diagnosis to their children.
Researchers in Oxford spoke to 37 mothers with early breast cancer and 31 of their children aged between 6 and 18 years, to perceive the extent of their understanding on the gravity of the situation. The interaction revealed that, even before the mother was diagnosed, children seemed to have knowledge about the implications of cancer as a life threatening affliction.
The children seemed to have gathered the inputs from television soap operas, health campaigns, and celebrities, as well as from the experience of relatives or friends' parents with cancer.
Researchers also felt that parents often underestimated the child's emotional impact and even misjudged the child's reactions, t the extent that some did not think it quite so important to prepare the child about the illness of the parent and the impending treatment.
Authors feel that parents, who are diagnosed with cancer, are unaware how to talk to their children and need to be supported by the General practitioners, hospital specialists, and nurses, who have adequate knowledge to steer the discussion and allay the fears of the children.