Tell grandson in fragile condition about diagnosis?

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Question from Treesa: I take care of my 7-year-old grandson. His 3-year-old sister is very sick and only may live for a few more years. How do I tell him I have breast cancer? He is so afraid something will happen to me, and his mother is at the hospital most of the time.
Answers - Paula K. Rauch, M.D. Your family is living with an enormous amount of distress, and it's easy to understand why your grandson feels worried. It's probably still best to let him know that you're getting treatment if that's the case. Someone as sensitive as he is likely to guess, and it will be harder for him to discover this news. Overhearing bad news or learning it indirectly is the hardest way to learn it. You haven't shared with us your prognosis, but if your prognosis is good and you're going to be able to continue to provide care to him, though he is likely to be worried at the time of this news, demonstrating that you can continue to spend time with him and care about him is likely to help him to feel reassured. At the same time, you want to remind him of all the adults in his life who love him, and help him to feel that the group of adults who love him is broad and deep. You and his mom may need to sit down and discuss how to increase your support system so that your grandson feels more comfortable with some additional important adults.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Talking With Kids about Breast Cancer featured Paula Rauch, M.D. and Tamara Shulman, Ph.D., F.A.A.C.P. answering your questions about specific ways to support your kids while you undergo treatment, and different communication strategies for helping your kids to feel secure during a time of uncertainty.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in May 2006.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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