A child's diagnosis of leukemia, lymphoma or a myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) brings with it feelings of uncertainty for parents and other family members. It's a time filled with new people and situations, worries and change.
But there are strategies and resources that can help you, your child and other family members get through the uncertain times that that lie ahead.
Because of new and better therapies, cancer survival rates for children have improved significantly during the last several decades. Doctors, nurses and researchers continue to search for the causes of childhood leukemia, lymphoma and MDS to develop better treatments and tailor therapies to decrease the toxic effects of therapy. Social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists and other health professionals are also working to understand how to help children and families manage cancer and its treatment and maintain a good quality of life.
Treatments for childhood cancer continue to evolve, in part because of the risk of long-term effects of cancer therapy. To minimize the risk:
- the lowest effective doses of drugs and radiation are used to treat cancer
- research is underway to understand:
- why some survivors develop treatment related long term effects
- how long-term effects of therapy affect quality of life.
Anna T. Meadows, M.D., an oncologist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, is leading a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) initiative to fund research to discover and eliminate the causes of cancer treatment's late effects.
Children with leukemia or lymphoma may face long periods of treatment. However, most can expect to have full and productive lives. Many childhood cancer survivors return to school, attend college, enter the workforce, marry and become parents. Still, each family living with a childhood cancer diagnosis is thrown into an unfamiliar world.
Coping with Cancer
When someone is diagnosed with cancer, everyone in his or her family is affected. This holds especially true for when a child has cancer. Different families have different ways of coping with a cancer diagnosis, but some sound strategies can help you and your family cope. For useful tools and tips that may help, see the following pages:
- Tips for Talking with Your Child
- Helping Your Child Cope
- Helping Siblings Cope
- Coping Tips for Parents
We're Here to Help
You can get much-needed support and information to guide you through your child's cancer journey from LLS. Get financial support, listen to or watch our telephone and web education programs or join a support group. We offer a wide range of both local and national services. The LLS network of chapters is located throughout the United States and Canada. To find the chapter closest to you, go to our Chapter Finder.
If you would like to learn more about our programs or if you have any questions about blood cancer, you can call an information specialist at (800) 955-4572 who can provide you with the latest, accurate disease-related information.
Past Education Programs
You can access audio replays, transcripts and program slides from past telephone/web education programs. Click here for past telephone/web education programs
You can download or order free publications written especially for children, parents and educators. See a complete list of free education materials and other helpful materials.