When one hears the word “cancer”, thoughts about how their previous life is about to change cloud the mind, but when one hears the word cancer for their child, it is a whole different outlook; the affects of childhood cancer are not only taken on by the patients, but also by their families; the affects can range from emotionally to physically, socially to financially, and even educationally. “Childhood cancer is considered rare, especially compared with adults. Still it’s the leading cause of death in children pre-adolescent, school-aged children” (Report: Childhood Cancer Rates Continue to Rise, but Treatment Helps Drive Down Deaths). Around 12,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with cancer every year and around one in five children that are diagnosed with cancer will die.
How does one see the symptoms for childhood cancer? First one must know that there are many different types. There are forty different types of children’s cancer, including: Leukemia, Lymphoma, Sarcomas, cancers of the nervous system, liver cancers, kidney cancer, and more. Out of these cancers, the two most common childhood cancers are Leukemia, and brain tumors. What is leukemia? It is a cancer in which the bone marrow and other organs that produce blood produce and increased amount of immature or abnormal white blood cells. The symptoms of leukemia are paleness, excessive bruising, pain in the joints, and fatigue. Brain tumors are formed when a massive amount of cells are produced on the brain. The symptoms for this are frequent headaches, vomiting, seizures, decreased coordination, weakness, and problems concerning vision.
Physical symptoms of cancer and the treatment can have serious social and emotional consequences for the diagnosed child. Negative images of self-appearance can often be found in children with cancer. It is often associated with academic, social, psychological impairment, low self-esteem, and symptoms of depression. A lot of the diagnosed children can also go through feelings of anger, guilt, and fear. Even though the children do go through these things psychologically many of them try to be very positive, to get through their treatment, and go on with their lives. “All the kids up there sound so positive and happy! It’s kind of weird because they are getting chemo, but they have these big smiles on their faces. They actually help the adults more than the adults help them” (Mainieri).
“The child’s adjustment to his or her diagnosis and treatment is strongly correlated to the parents’ adjustment to the diagnosis add treatment” (Peek and Melnyk). The diagnosis for cancer can cause large disruption within the family, which can be manifested as parental role confusion as well as parental distress about the child’s life in the future. Parents of children that are diagnosed with childhood cancer often show signs of anxiety, depression, symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and distress; Although, this isn’t just from having a...