Learning more about your teenager's cancer

PDF download is not available for Arabic and Urdu languages at this time. Please use the browser print function instead

Learning more about your teenager’s cancer and about how to help your teen cope and thrive despite it, is one way to help reduce your stress and worries. Having some knowledge may help you feel like you have more control.

Key points

  • The internet is a good source of information for learning more about cancer, but not everything is true or relevant to your teenagers treatment. Always ask the health-care team if you are unsure about something your read online.
  • It is important to stay organized to help you keep track of all the information you find.
  • Take a look at the Cancer Learning Hub on the teen site to find out what your teenager may be learning about cancer.

The more you understand about their cancer and treatment, the more you are able to help your teenager make the best decisions about their care. Being informed can help you know more about what to expect in the days, weeks and months ahead. Be realistic about how much you can expect to learn at the beginning. Many parents are overwhelmed by how quickly things happen after they first hear that their teenager has cancer. Treatment may need to start before there is a chance to fully understand what is happening. Like other parents, you will probably need to ask many questions to understand what’s going on.

Tip: Try not to focus too much on statistics. Remember that your child is unique. Many things that can happen won’t, and things that you don’t expect to happen might. Try to focus on the present, and take it one step (or even one moment) at a time.

Online information

It can help to look for information on credible web sites. If you find information that looks almost too good to be true (such as a "cure" for cancer) or information that is frightening to read, please share it with your teenager’s health-care team. They can tell you if it is credible and whether it applies to your teenager. The teen section contains information about evaluating the credibility of information on the internet.

Staying organized

The first step in staying organized is to figure out a way to keep track of any information you find, questions you have, and appointments related to your teenager’s care. Some parents find it helpful to keep all of this information in a binder or a digital file on a phone, tablet, or computer. Having information available all in one place may help cut down on your stress and help you maintain some control over everything that is happening at a very busy time in your life.

Ask your teenager’s health-care team for any information they can give you. You will find more ideas of where to look for information in the resources page of this session.

Sessions outline

Here is a list of the different topics covered in the teen version of this program:

Please take the time to visit these sessions. They contain information about cancer and treatment, as well as strategies your teenager can use to help manage the physical, emotional, psychological and social effects of cancer.

In the next session, you will learn how to help your teenager to manage the effects of their cancer and treatment more independently.

Last updated: September 3rd 2019