Any illness changes family life for a while. A parent or a brother or sister who is home sick with the flu can't spend as much time with the family as usual. The sick person may get special attention, and you may need to help around the house. But most times, the person is not sick for very long, and family life soon goes back to normal.
But when someone has cancer, it is different. He or she needs special medical treatment and may go to the hospital or clinic a lot. People in the family may worry. They worry for the person who has cancer and for themselves. Cancer is a serious illness, and it can be scary if you don't know for sure if the person will get well or not.
People in your family may react differently. They may be afraid or angry that their life has changed. They may be tired, or they may be nervous about the future. They may be tense and not as easy to talk to as before, because they are worried. Some people may go on just as if nothing has happened, and they may not seem different at all. If you are upset, you may wonder if they care about the family member who has cancer. It's important to remember that each person reacts in his or her own way. You may get mad at other members of your family for the way they are acting. It is better to talk with them than to stay mad. If you talk, you can understand why they are acting that way.
Some Things You Should Know
• More people are living with cancer now than ever before, and new ways to treat cancer are being discovered.
• Having cancer doesn't necessarily mean a person will die from it.
• Nothing you did or didn't do caused your family member to get cancer.
• Nothing you thought or said caused your family member to get cancer.
• Cancer is not contagious-you can't catch it from someone else or give it to anyone else.
• You or your parents could not have protected your brother or sister from getting cancer.
• If someone in your family has cancer, that doesn't mean that you or anyone else in your family also will get it.
• Nobody can tell you why your parent or brother or sister is sick, and you're healthy.
• The way you behave cannot change the fact that someone has cancer or that your family is upset.
• It is good for you to continue with school and outside activities.