Q. I've recently started treatment and I'm trying to find things that can help support my 13-year-old such as groups, counseling, etc. Do you have recommendations?

A.

Being diagnosed with cancer not only affects a cancer patient but the family members as well, especially children. Oftentimes, children are overwhelmed with worries about the cancer patient, and can feel alone and different from their peers.

We’re glad you decided to seek support for your 13-year-old, especially since most children do not know there is help available to them. Let your child know that they can always come to you to talk about their worries. They can also talk to another adult such as a teacher, counselor, or a relative who they can trust and who knows about your diagnosis.

Some children may also benefit from connecting with other children affected by cancer by joining an online or in-person support group. Having such an opportunity allows them to relate to one another and feel less alone or different.

You can contact CancerCare at 1-800-813-HOPE (4673), and our oncology social workers can help you find support programs that may assist your child. I’d also recommend contacting a local hospital social worker or patient navigator for referrals to local organizations that offer in-person support groups for teens.

The American Cancer Society (1-800-227-2345) may also provide a listing of local organizations that provide support groups.

Sometimes children may be shy and not feel comfortable about meeting others in person. If this is something your child may experience, they may sign up for an online support group offered through online organizations, such as