Stories about: childhood cancer

Resource guide: What everyone should know about childhood cancer

childhood cancerHow much do you know about childhood cancers? Even though they’re rare (far more so than cancers in adults), they are no less devastating to children and their families. For Childhood Cancer Awareness Month—celebrated every year in September—Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center is sharing important information about childhood cancers and inspiring stories from the children who battle it every day.

As the month comes to a close, here are four topics we think everyone should learn about when it comes to childhood cancer.

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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh ‘Proud to be a Cancer Survivor’

SOG_2071_14-2Boston Mayor Marty Walsh recently gave the keynote address at Dana-Farber’s Living Proof: Celebrating Survivorship event. He shared his experience as a child being treated for Burkitt’s lymphoma at Dana-Farber and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Boston Children’s Hospital is proud to have been involved in the Mayor’s treatment all those years ago. Stories like his, and all of our patients, inspire the team at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center to provide the most advanced care and develop innovative treatments so the children they treat today can go on to do great things tomorrow.

The following excerpts from his speech, originally appeared on Insight, Dana-Farber’s blog :

I was diagnosed with cancer at age 7. I went through treatment for almost four years.

At 7-years old, I didn’t really know what was going on and how serious it was – and it was pretty serious. For many years I missed a lot of school. I missed most of my second and third grades.

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Cancer diagnosis can’t shake these first-time parents

In some ways, Katelyn Silva and Joe Lauzon are typical first-time parents. They bombard their newborn son Joey’s doctor with questions:

  • Is it OK to give him Tylenol?
  • Is he taking enough formula?
  • Is green poop OK?

And people they meet are sharing pictures of their son.

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The difference is that Katelyn and Joe are asking an oncologist, Suzanne Shusterman, MD, of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorder Center, their questions, and Joey’s baby pictures are x-rays and MRI exams shared among a team of physicians.

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Talking about a new cancer diagnosis with your child

The following information originally appeared on Insight, a blog by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Helping a loved one face cancer is never easy, but the challenge is especially daunting when the patient is your own child. The clinicians at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center work with pediatric cancer patients and their families every day and have experience in helping families approach the subject. Here,  Lisa Diller, MD, Anna Muriel, MD, and Jorge Fernandez, LCSW offer tips for talking with your children about their illness.           

1. Include them in the discussion. For many parents, the natural instinct is to not give their child information about their diagnosis to avoid scaring them. But children can view this protection as exclusion, a feeling that they are not important enough to include in the discussion. It’s also anxiety-provoking in that it creates uncertainties and fears that the situation may be worse than it really is.

2. Find a good time and place. Figure out the best time to talk to your child; maybe in bed, or in the car, or even while doing something fun or active. Whatever feels most comfortable to them. We have resources that can help in the discussion.

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