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Talking cancer

When it comes to your child’s cancer, no topic is taboo

When a child has cancer, you are told things you wish you didn’t have to hear, but there are also many things left unsaid. Having real conversations is what we do best, and we invite you to join us.

This time is often filled with some of the hardest conversations of your life, a whirlwind of information, and new people.

We don’t know what causes childhood cancers. Nothing you or anyone else did caused your child’s cancer and nothing could have prevented it. It’s not fair, but it’s not your fault.  

Guilt is a really common feeling for parents. Telling someone to not feel guilty won’t make that feeling magically disappear, but talking about it can help. 

While it can feel isolating, you’re not alone with cancer. We will listen, respect and respond to you and your family, wherever you are.

You will meet many other families on the ward. Because the treatment for most childhood cancers is long and intense, many of these families get to know and support each other. Some form friendships that last long after their child’s treatment is over.

Know that there is nothing you did or didn’t do that caused it. You face a hard road but you don’t have to feel alone. There are wonderful groups of parents all over the country – like the ones Redkite runs that have parents that get it and that are there to hold you up. Be kind on yourself. If your house isn’t clean or your lawn isn’t mowed it’s okay. And never EVER measure your okay against someone worse than you. Your kid has cancer! If there is any time in your life to humbly accept the generous and gracious help others offer it is now. Not just for you, but it will ease your burden to allow you to support your kids. Swallow your pride, say yes ❤️
Tracy

Organising
5th Oct

Staying in the hospital for the first time: teenagers

When it comes to hospital and treatment centres, teenagers can be sent to either a children’s hospital or an adult facility.

Staying in the hospital for the first time: teenagers

When it comes to hospital and treatment centres, teenagers can be sent to either a children’s hospital or an adult facility.

Organising
2nd Oct

Childhood cancer: Feeling out of control

Managing medications, appointments, hospital visits, finances, work and the needs of other family members means there will be times when you feel overwhelmed.

Childhood cancer: Feeling out of control

Managing medications, appointments, hospital visits, finances, work and the needs of other family members means there will be times when you feel overwhelmed.

Relationships
2nd Oct

Tips for good communication

Parents have shared their top tips to help you communicate with your family and your child’s treatment team.

Tips for good communication

Parents have shared their top tips to help you communicate with your family and your child’s treatment team.

Organising
1st Oct

Budgeting during treatment

Many people find cancer brings extra financial demands. Often income decreases while expenses increase.

Budgeting during treatment

Many people find cancer brings extra financial demands. Often income decreases while expenses increase.

Organising
1st Oct

Accessing your superannuation early

The money saved in your superannuation fund is usually only available to you when you retire. However, in special circumstances some superannuation funds may allow you access to all or part of your super before you retire.

Accessing your superannuation early

The money saved in your superannuation fund is usually only available to you when you retire. However, in special circumstances some superannuation funds may allow you access to all or part of your super before you retire.

Relationships
1st Oct

Telling people your child has cancer

Talking about cancer can be daunting. You may have fears about how people will react, and voicing it can make it feel more real somehow

Telling people your child has cancer

Talking about cancer can be daunting. You may have fears about how people will react, and voicing it can make it feel more real somehow

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Every child’s treatment looks different. The most common treatments are chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. Many children have a combination of all three, but others may only have one. There are other treatments as well like bone marrow transplants, stem cell therapy and immunotherapy. These aren’t as common and are often used for certain cancers.

There are different phases of treatment. Your child may stay in hospital for some weeks, and then you may be on maintenance treatment for several years. Both of these have their own challenges. The hospital where your child receives treatment might be hundreds of kilometres away from family and friends. At home, not only are you juggling having a child on treatment, doctors appointments and unexpected trips to the emergency department, but also everyday life; school, work, other children.

There’s lots of ups and downs, and it can be exhausting. It’s normal and okay to feel overwhelmed.

I wish I had known that the end of the intensive treatment phase (leukaemia) isn’t necessarily the end of the “hard part”, that the full treatment program (2 years) is a marathon and not a sprint and you need to conserve mental energy for after intensive is over. I’m sorry if I’m rambling but the point is that I was so looking forward to finishing intensive and ‘going home’ but that had its own challenges too.
Tanya

Organising
17th Sep

Finance tips from parents of kids with cancer

Financial tips from parents and families for getting through their child’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Finance tips from parents of kids with cancer

Financial tips from parents and families for getting through their child’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Relationships
18th Sep

When your grandchild has cancer

A storybook written for parents and carers to read with their children to help them understand what a tumour is and what treatment involves.

When your grandchild has cancer

A storybook written for parents and carers to read with their children to help them understand what a tumour is and what treatment involves.

Organising
28th Sep

Advocating for your child

Being an advocate for your child who has cancer can be a hard role to navigate. Here are some steps you can take and tips from other parents.

Advocating for your child

Being an advocate for your child who has cancer can be a hard role to navigate. Here are some steps you can take and tips from other parents.

Seeking support; what other parents say

Relationships
28th Sep

Seeking support: what other parents say

Financial tips from parents and families for getting through their child’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Seeking support: what other parents say

Financial tips from parents and families for getting through their child’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Organising
29th Sep

Simple tips to stay organised while on treatment: what other parents say

Simple tips to stay organised while on treatment: what other parents say. Parents have shared some practical tips to help you stay organised while your child is on treatment.

Simple tips to stay organised while on treatment: what other parents say

Simple tips to stay organised while on treatment: what other parents say. Parents have shared some practical tips to help you stay organised while your child is on treatment.

Organising
29th Sep

Making your hospital stay more comfortable: what other parents say

Having to stay in hospital can bring about different challenges. Parents have shared some tips to help you feel more comfortable and to seek support you might need.

Making your hospital stay more comfortable: what other parents say

Having to stay in hospital can bring about different challenges. Parents have shared some tips to help you feel more comfortable and to seek support you might need.

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Despite the best efforts of any medical team, cancer cells sometimes survive treatment and reappear. This is called a relapse or recurrence. 
It’s what parents fear every time they take their child for a blood test or a scan. Hearing this news is devastating. Relapse doesn’t mean your child had the wrong treatment, that they did something wrong. It’s nobody’s fault.

Having gone through treatment before, you know what to expect. This can be both positive and negative. You know the language, the people, and what strategies work for you, but you also know what’s ahead of you. It might feel like you put everything into treatment the first time, and now you’re exhausted.

Organising
2nd Oct

Childhood cancer: Feeling out of control

Managing medications, appointments, hospital visits, finances, work and the needs of other family members means there will be times when you feel overwhelmed.

Childhood cancer: Feeling out of control

Managing medications, appointments, hospital visits, finances, work and the needs of other family members means there will be times when you feel overwhelmed.

Organising
1st Oct

Budgeting during treatment

Many people find cancer brings extra financial demands. Often income decreases while expenses increase.

Budgeting during treatment

Many people find cancer brings extra financial demands. Often income decreases while expenses increase.

Organising
1st Oct

Accessing your superannuation early

The money saved in your superannuation fund is usually only available to you when you retire. However, in special circumstances some superannuation funds may allow you access to all or part of your super before you retire.

Accessing your superannuation early

The money saved in your superannuation fund is usually only available to you when you retire. However, in special circumstances some superannuation funds may allow you access to all or part of your super before you retire.

Relationships
1st Oct

Telling people your child has cancer

Talking about cancer can be daunting. You may have fears about how people will react, and voicing it can make it feel more real somehow

Telling people your child has cancer

Talking about cancer can be daunting. You may have fears about how people will react, and voicing it can make it feel more real somehow

Health
1st Oct

Childhood cancer and fertility

Decisions made at the start of treatment can have long-term effects, so it’s a good idea to find out about treatment and fertility as early as possible.

Childhood cancer and fertility

Decisions made at the start of treatment can have long-term effects, so it’s a good idea to find out about treatment and fertility as early as possible.

Relationships
1st Oct

Your friendships and your cancer

Some friends you can talk to about anything and everything, but it can still be hard to tell your friends you’ve been diagnosed with cancer

Your friendships and your cancer

Some friends you can talk to about anything and everything, but it can still be hard to tell your friends you’ve been diagnosed with cancer

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The end of treatment is the milestone most families have been looking forward to since the diagnosis. Many families choose to celebrate this moment, but for many, there’s also lots of mixed feelings. Whatever you’re feeling: relief, guilt, anger, grief- these are normal.

Even after treatment ends, normal can still seem very far away. Wanting to have everything back the way it was before cancer is completely understandable. Everyone is changed by their experience. Many people also talk about struggling with the expectations of others who want them to be their old selves.

Treatment ending can bring a whole new range of worries and emotions. Instead of worrying about treatment, now people are worrying about the cancer returning. One day your child was taking chemo which kept them healthy and saved their life, the next they’re not.

It doesn’t mean going back to ‘normal’
Off treatment doesn’t mean it’s the end of tests, scans and check ups.
It means it’s the end of chemo/radiation/immunotherapy etc it doesn’t mean back to normal or healthy immune system, it means a new way of life and a few bumps along the way.

Health
1st Oct

Childhood cancer and fertility

Decisions made at the start of treatment can have long-term effects, so it’s a good idea to find out about treatment and fertility as early as possible.

Childhood cancer and fertility

Decisions made at the start of treatment can have long-term effects, so it’s a good idea to find out about treatment and fertility as early as possible.

Relationships
30th Sep

Parenting through cancer

When your child has cancer, of course, you’ll let them push boundaries or “get away with” poor behaviour you normally wouldn’t accept, but what’s the limit?

Parenting through cancer

When your child has cancer, of course, you’ll let them push boundaries or “get away with” poor behaviour you normally wouldn’t accept, but what’s the limit?

Adult mum and daughter hugging

Relationships
30th Sep

Managing family relationships

Going through cancer treatment can lead to some very positive experiences in relationships, but the stress can also cause immense strain.

Managing family relationships

Going through cancer treatment can lead to some very positive experiences in relationships, but the stress can also cause immense strain.

Organising
30th Sep

Finding motivation

Where does motivation come from, and how do we find it? We all kind of know what it is, but often it just seems like something that is missing

Finding motivation

Where does motivation come from, and how do we find it? We all kind of know what it is, but often it just seems like something that is missing

Relationships
30th Sep

‘Chin up’: Breaking down the barriers between men and support

Men are encouraged to show strength and can’t say if you’re struggling, but how should a man behave when his child is diagnosed with cancer?

‘Chin up’: Breaking down the barriers between men and support

Men are encouraged to show strength and can’t say if you’re struggling, but how should a man behave when his child is diagnosed with cancer?

Organising
29th Sep

Can Centrelink help my family?

Understanding and navigating Centrelink when a child has cancer is difficult and confusing. Here are tips about Centrelink and other options that may be relevant to you and your family.

Can Centrelink help my family?

Understanding and navigating Centrelink when a child has cancer is difficult and confusing. Here are tips about Centrelink and other options that may be relevant to you and your family.

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Survivor means different things to different people.

At some point after treatment, people who have had cancer might start being called “survivors”. People use this word in different ways. The term “cancer survivor” is helpful for some people, and it can allow people to tap into support specifically related to “survivorship”. It can also give people who’ve faced cancer a strong sense of identity. For others, it doesn’t quite fit or do justice to how complex cancer is.

When someone might start describing themselves as a survivor also varies quite a lot. Some people may use the word from the time they’re diagnosed, when they finished treatment, or when they’re told they are cancer-free.

Many children who’ve had cancer have ‘late effects’ as a result of their treatment. Again, if your child has them and what they are depends on a lot of different facts. Late effects can range from cognitive changes or mental illness, to heart or kidney problems.

As a parent yourself, you might have ongoing impacts from treatment too, whether that’s financial, emotional, or social.

Relationships
1st Oct

Finishing cancer treatment

Finishing cancer treatment can also bring up unexpected feelings and responses. It takes time to adjust, and we’re here to support you.

Finishing cancer treatment

Finishing cancer treatment can also bring up unexpected feelings and responses. It takes time to adjust, and we’re here to support you.

Organising
1st Oct

Accessing your superannuation early

The money saved in your superannuation fund is usually only available to you when you retire. However, in special circumstances some superannuation funds may allow you access to all or part of your super before you retire.

Accessing your superannuation early

The money saved in your superannuation fund is usually only available to you when you retire. However, in special circumstances some superannuation funds may allow you access to all or part of your super before you retire.

Health
1st Oct

Childhood cancer and fertility

Decisions made at the start of treatment can have long-term effects, so it’s a good idea to find out about treatment and fertility as early as possible.

Childhood cancer and fertility

Decisions made at the start of treatment can have long-term effects, so it’s a good idea to find out about treatment and fertility as early as possible.

Organising
30th Sep

Finding motivation

Where does motivation come from, and how do we find it? We all kind of know what it is, but often it just seems like something that is missing

Finding motivation

Where does motivation come from, and how do we find it? We all kind of know what it is, but often it just seems like something that is missing

Relationships
30th Sep

‘Chin up’: Breaking down the barriers between men and support

Men are encouraged to show strength and can’t say if you’re struggling, but how should a man behave when his child is diagnosed with cancer?

‘Chin up’: Breaking down the barriers between men and support

Men are encouraged to show strength and can’t say if you’re struggling, but how should a man behave when his child is diagnosed with cancer?

Organising
29th Sep

Can Centrelink help my family?

Understanding and navigating Centrelink when a child has cancer is difficult and confusing. Here are tips about Centrelink and other options that may be relevant to you and your family.

Can Centrelink help my family?

Understanding and navigating Centrelink when a child has cancer is difficult and confusing. Here are tips about Centrelink and other options that may be relevant to you and your family.

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Sometimes, cancer doesn’t respond to treatment. There’s no right or wrong way to feel or cope with this news. It can be hard to describe the waves of emotion involved. Some people who have been through this experience say it is possible to feel fear, devastation, anger and denial simultaneously. Others say they were completely numb.

There are many questions and also many decisions which are not easy to make. Telling your child, their siblings, and other people in your life is just the first of many incredibly hard conversations you will have to have.

You may feel alone in this. Your experience is your own, but there are people here to help and support you, including Redkite.

Relationships
6th Oct

When your child isn’t going to get better

When your child isn’t going to get better is an eleven-page booklet written using the real experiences of bereaved parents.

When your child isn’t going to get better

When your child isn’t going to get better is an eleven-page booklet written using the real experiences of bereaved parents.

rk-man-pyjamas-stressed-phone

Relationships
5th Oct

When your child dies

When your child dies is a nine-page booklet written using the real experiences of bereaved parents about life after your child dies.

When your child dies

When your child dies is a nine-page booklet written using the real experiences of bereaved parents about life after your child dies.

Organising
1st Oct

Accessing your superannuation early

The money saved in your superannuation fund is usually only available to you when you retire. However, in special circumstances some superannuation funds may allow you access to all or part of your super before you retire.

Accessing your superannuation early

The money saved in your superannuation fund is usually only available to you when you retire. However, in special circumstances some superannuation funds may allow you access to all or part of your super before you retire.

Organising
30th Sep

Finding motivation

Where does motivation come from, and how do we find it? We all kind of know what it is, but often it just seems like something that is missing

Finding motivation

Where does motivation come from, and how do we find it? We all kind of know what it is, but often it just seems like something that is missing

Relationships
30th Sep

‘Chin up’: Breaking down the barriers between men and support

Men are encouraged to show strength and can’t say if you’re struggling, but how should a man behave when his child is diagnosed with cancer?

‘Chin up’: Breaking down the barriers between men and support

Men are encouraged to show strength and can’t say if you’re struggling, but how should a man behave when his child is diagnosed with cancer?

Organising
29th Sep

Can Centrelink help my family?

Understanding and navigating Centrelink when a child has cancer is difficult and confusing. Here are tips about Centrelink and other options that may be relevant to you and your family.

Can Centrelink help my family?

Understanding and navigating Centrelink when a child has cancer is difficult and confusing. Here are tips about Centrelink and other options that may be relevant to you and your family.

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Grief doesn’t have a formula or timeline. There’s no stages to go through. Grief comes and goes, rising and falling, and is never easy to predict.

Even though they are gone, they are still with you and you can still think about them, and you don’t have to be sad. You can be happy and think about them at the same time
Bereaved sibling


Other people in your life can have expectations of how you’re supposed to behave or how long you should grieve for. But there isn’t a right or wrong way to act when your child has died. Time between moments of overwhelming grief grows further apart over time, but that doesn’t mean grief goes away. The fact is your child will always be part of you, and you’ll always have a relationship with them.

We provide bereavement counselling, and have articles and resources you can read. One of these resources is By My Side, a video and book of a collection of quotes from parents whose child has died because of cancer. You can ask our team for a copy of By My Side and we’ll post it out to you.


Emotions
19th Oct

Grief, Loss and Bereavement

During this pandemic, the devastation, sadness and isolation is shared globally, and we all ‘get it’ and can understand the impact. But when it comes to bereavement, sadly many people and communities don’t understand.

Grief, Loss and Bereavement

During this pandemic, the devastation, sadness and isolation is shared globally, and we all ‘get it’ and can understand the impact. But when it comes to bereavement, sadly many people and communities don’t understand.

rk-man-pyjamas-stressed-phone

Relationships
5th Oct

When your child dies

When your child dies is a nine-page booklet written using the real experiences of bereaved parents about life after your child dies.

When your child dies

When your child dies is a nine-page booklet written using the real experiences of bereaved parents about life after your child dies.

Relationships
5th Oct

By My Side: Stories from parents whose child has died from cancer

In this 3-minute video we hear the experiences, feelings and opinions of bereaved parents who participated in a research study….

By My Side: Stories from parents whose child has died from cancer

In this 3-minute video we hear the experiences, feelings and opinions of bereaved parents who participated in a research study….

Relationships
5th Oct

Living without your child

Living without your child is a nine-page booklet written using the real experiences of bereaved parents about life after your child dies.

Living without your child

Living without your child is a nine-page booklet written using the real experiences of bereaved parents about life after your child dies.

Relationships
2nd Oct

After they are gone

Everyone grieves in different ways. While your grief may be similar in some ways to other people’s, it will still be individual to you. It’s your own experience.

After they are gone

Everyone grieves in different ways. While your grief may be similar in some ways to other people’s, it will still be individual to you. It’s your own experience.

Organising
1st Oct

Accessing your superannuation early

The money saved in your superannuation fund is usually only available to you when you retire. However, in special circumstances some superannuation funds may allow you access to all or part of your super before you retire.

Accessing your superannuation early

The money saved in your superannuation fund is usually only available to you when you retire. However, in special circumstances some superannuation funds may allow you access to all or part of your super before you retire.

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