Q. I'm looking for support for my teenage son to help him deal with his sister's cancer. Can you recommend any specific places?

A.

A child with cancer can change family dynamics and these changes are often difficult for siblings. It can be challenging for parents to focus on the needs and concerns of their other children, which can lead to siblings feeling “invisible” or alone. Siblings often experience many emotions in this situation such as: fear and anxiety, anger, jealousy and resentment, loneliness, guilt, sadness and grief.

It is important to talk with your other children about cancer while also giving them a safe space to share their feelings and worries. Getting help is important as well; you do not have to learn to cope alone.

In linking your son to support systems it will be important to:

  • Reach out to a social worker where your daughter is receiving treatment; they might be able to refer you to a local support group for siblings
  • Check out SuperSibs, an organization designed specifically to give support to siblings of cancer patients. Their website has resources and tips as well as camps and events that help connect other siblings going through a similar experience
  • Look into an online support group. CancerCare offers an online support group for teens who have a loved one with cancer. This support group is run by a licensed oncology social worker and is designed to create an environment where teens can share and connect with one another

If additional support is needed, you can reach out to an oncology social worker through CancerCare’s Hopeline (800-813-HOPE) for additional information.