About the Project

Children and young people affected by a parent being diagnosed with cancer are often not well supported. This is probably because they are not visibly seen by nurses and doctors, but also because the healthcare system hasn’t yet included them.

Many patients are not asked whether they have child caring responsibilities so often do not know where to go for help with the monumental task of telling their children they have cancer.

This project explores some ways we can begin to support cancer patients and their children:

  • Designing a short questionnaire, to be filled in at diagnosis, asking how many children a patient has and what ages they are, and whether the patient feels supported around their family needs.
  • Providing a toolkit that helps families discuss cancer, and that give adults the right age appropriate words and answers to many children’s questions. The toolkits also help children cope emotionally and practically.
  • Designing a web space where all resources relevant to families affected by cancer can be collected. These will include websites, pdf booklets, podcasts, YouTube animations, books and comics.

We hope this project will help families communicate about cancer, and support the evitable changes and challenges a family faces when a parent has cancer. 

Also we hope that we will bring about change in the healthcare system where support for a patient’s children is embedded into the normal care pathways.