If your mum or dad has cancer, usually a lot changes. That takes some getting used to.

Often going to hospital
Somebody who has cancer often has to go to hospital. For tests, to talk to the doctor, for chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Sometimes that hospital is nearby, sometimes it isn’t. Would you like to see where your mum or dad goes ? Just ask if you can go along. Have a good look around you and ask if there is anything you don’t understand.

Staying the night and/or staying at school for lunch Sometimes your mum or dad can manage to go to hospital during your school time. But often that´s just not possible. So you might have to stay at school at lunchtime more often or go to afterschool club. It can also happen that your mum or dad has to stay in hospital for a couple of nights. That can mean that you stay the night at a friend’s or that your granny and grandad come to stay.

Being upset Most mums and dads are upset for a while if they have cancer. They are confused and sad. Usually they won’t say so, but you can notice it. Sometimes it helps if you comfort them or give them a hug. But also say if you feel sad or confused too. That helps too!

Looking different Some mums or dad will look different because of their treatment or their illness. That’s very often the case in mums or dads whose heads or necks are operated on. Usually that is temporary, but sometimes it´s forever. In general you will get used to it. There are also mums and dad who become very thin because of their illness. That can look a bit scary. Try not to notice it too much.

Cancer cells in the head Mums or dads with a brain tumour or cancer cells in their head can sometimes behave differently. They might get very angry all of a sudden, say things you don’t understand at all or they could all at once not remember your name. That’s really sad. Is there somebody who can help you with this? An aunt or an uncle, for instance, or a neighbour or your granny or grandad? Also look at ‘What helps’ or maybe you have a better idea and you can email us.

Lying on the sofa Cancer makes you tired. You yourself, but also your mum or dad. From all that running back and forth to hospital, from the medicines, from the radiotherapy, from all the worrying thoughts. That’s why a mum or dad with cancer will lie on the sofa more often than a healthy mother or father. Usually it goes away after a bit, but it can also turn out that your mum or dad is tired for a long time.

Doing fun things together During the treatment your mum or dad will not be able to go to school or sports matches with you. That doesn’t mean that nothing is possible. If you tidy up your own room, make your own bed, or clear the table, your mum or dad can have a little rest and maybe you can still do some fun things together.