Parenting with CancerYour cancer diagnosis can have a profound impact on your entire family. Your cancer diagnosis can have an impact on your whole family. If you have minor children, you are probably very concerned about how much to tell them about your diagnosis, treatment and expected outcome

Below are a number of resources you can use to help you decide when and how to talk to your children, as well as age-appropriate tips when discussing cancer with children. In addition, there are some good resources to share with your family to help everyone understand, communicate and access support in adjusting and coping with cancer.

Resources for kids and teens

Sacramento children’s art therapy support group »A support group for children ages 5-17 who have a family member or friend diagnosed with cancer or a serious chronic illness. An eight session program facilitated by an art therapist and clinical social worker, using creative activities for self-expression to cope with a loved one’s cancer.

When your parent has cancer »
A guide for teens

Camp Kesem »
Giving kids the opportunity to be kids since 2000, Camp Kesem has given children affected by a parent’s cancer the opportunity to just be kids. The ever-expanding Kesem community engages in camp activities like sports, arts and crafts, and drama to give campers a fun-filled week.

Helping children cope

Helping children when a family member has cancer: Dealing with Treatment by American cancer society

Parenting With Cancer Class Video Blog: Dr. Vaughn Mankey facilitates this video conference in which he describes a framework for considering the unique parenting needs of each child during a parent’s illness. He also discusses key principles that parents can use to encourage coping and resilience in children. Watch and share the archived video from the class with those you know who are parenting with cancer.


  • Harpham, W. When a Parent Has Cancer: A Guide to Caring for Your Children, Harper Collins, 2004.
  • Muriel, A. & Rauch, P. Raising an Emotionally Healthy Child When a Parent is Sick, McGraw Hill Professional, 2005.
  • Lewis, A. When Someone You Love Has Cancer: A Guide to Help Kids Cope, Open Road Media, 2014.