Childhood cancer and siblings

July 22, 2022
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Finding out your brother or sister has cancer can have a massive impact on you and can mess with parts of your life that are most important to you. You might feel confused and helpless whilst your sibling deals with their diagnosis and your parents do their best to keep daily life as normal.

So, what can you do to help your sibling, whilst looking after yourself? We have put together some tips.

What will happen to my sibling whilst having treatment?

What happens next depends on your brother or sisters’ treatment plan, they may have treatment locally which means they can stay at home, or they may have to travel to a specialist hospital further away which may mean they will be away from home for long periods of time.

Receiving treatment in hospital is often very lonely, so we encourage you to support your sibling however you can, perhaps by facetiming them to keep them company whilst they are in hospital. You can also expect to see some physical changes in your brother or sister, as treatment can cause side effects like hair loss, weight gain, and tiredness. Remember, they are the same sibling behind all of this, so it is important to try to maintain aspects of normal life when with them.

How can I help

It is likely that your parents or carers will be occupied trying to keep things going as usual, this may see them have to give up work to look after your sibling whilst on treatment. This may leave you feeling like they have less time for you, but it is important you remember they still love you and are doing their best.

Supporting your parents by helping with little jobs can take the pressure off them, ask them how you can help and this way you work as a team. You can even help by spending time with your sibling in hospital to make sure there is someone keeping them company and they are not alone.

Find someone you can talk to

As a sibling, you may be dealing with many new emotions that you have never felt before, so you should make sure you also look after yourself. This will in turn help you be there for your family whilst you undergo this period of change together.

Finding someone you can talk to about what is going on at home can help you get answers to questions you have, as well as practical tips on how to cope with stress or anxiety you may be feeling. Keeping things to yourself may make things harder in the long term- so we encourage you to talk to someone you trust like a friend, parent or even a teacher.

Childhood cancer and siblings
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