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May 29, 2008 - Childhood Cancer Survivorship: The Family's Journey Forward

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Date: May 29, 2008
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Listen: Audio

Topics Covered

  • Common issues families face in the emotional journey through diagnosis, treatment and childhood cancer survivorship
  • Ways in which families and children cope in the face of serious illness
  • Strategies to assist parents, siblings and the child with cancer
  • Quality-of-life issues for families who have a child with cancer


Nancy F. Cincotta, MSW, LCSW, ACSW, BCD
Psychosocial Director, Camp Sunshine, a national retreat for families of children with life-threatening illnesses and bereaved families
Casco, ME


In that moment when the test results come back, life changes for families touched by childhood cancer--not just for the child with the diagnosis but also for everybody in the household. What are the ways that families get through the complicated process of the childhood cancer journey? Ms. Cincotta discusses some of the shared experiences of families in "the club they never wanted to join"--having a child with cancer.

Program Highlights

  • Cancer survivorship, from the diagnosis forward, is about relationships with family.
    • The oncology team may come to feel like family as families spend more time with the medical staff than with relatives and friends.
  • Common themes and issues for families coping with childhood cancer are:
    • coping with the impact of diagnosis
    • having to process a great deal of new information
    • needing to make quick decisions
    • dealing with financial needs
    • addressing school-related issues
  • Families need to take the time to create good, shared memories during the cancer journey.
  • Children need age-appropriate explanations about their diagnosis and treatment throughout the journey--as children grow up, explanations need to grow, too.

Questions Asked by the Childhood Cancer Community

  • How does an adult survivor connect with others who went through illness as an adolescent?
  • How common is anxiety for children after treatment?
  • Are there programs that deal with the developmental issues that may occur as a result of treatment, and if so, are there any data on the success of these programs? 
  • How do parents get past difficulties within their marriage when each has a different coping style for dealing with their child's illness?
  • Is professional guidance and support available for dealing with the physical and psychological aspects of survivorship and a sense of isolation after treatment?


This program was sponsored by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

last updated on Friday, April 17, 2015

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