- How is neuroblastoma treated?
- Neuroblastoma surgery
- Chemotherapy for neuroblastoma
- Retinoid therapy for neuroblastoma
- Radiation therapy for neuroblastoma
- High-dose chemotherapy/radiation therapy and stem cell transplant for neuroblastoma
- Immunotherapy for neuroblastoma
- Clinical trials for neuroblastoma
- Complementary and alternative therapies for neuroblastoma
- Treatment of neuroblastoma by risk group
- Emotional and social issues in children with neuroblastoma
- More treatment information about neuroblastoma
Emotional and social issues in children with neuroblastoma
During treatment, families tend to focus on the daily aspects of getting through it and beating the cancer. Some common family concerns include financial stresses, transportation to the cancer center, the possible loss of a job, and the possible need for home schooling.
Most children with neuroblastoma are very young at the time of diagnosis. Still, some children may have emotional or psychological issues that need to be addressed during and after treatment. Depending on their age, they may also have some problems with normal functioning and school work. These can often be overcome with support and encouragement. Doctors and other members of the health care team can also often recommend special support programs and services to help children during and after cancer treatment.
Centers that treat many patients with neuroblastoma may have programs to introduce new patients and their families to others who have finished their treatment. Seeing another patient with neuroblastoma doing well is often helpful for the patient and family.
Many experts recommend that school-aged patients attend school as much as possible. This helps them keep important social connections and gives older children a chance to keep their friends informed about what is happening.
Friends can be a great source of support, but patients and parents should know that some people have misunderstandings and fears about cancer. Some cancer centers have a school re-entry program that can help in these situations. In this program, health educators visit the school and tell students about the diagnosis, treatment, and changes that the cancer patient may go through. They also answer any questions from teachers and classmates.
As children who have had neuroblastoma grow older, a number of emotional issues may arise. Some of these may last a long time. They can include things like:
- Dealing with physical changes from the treatment
- Worries about the cancer returning or new health problems developing
- Feelings of resentment for having had cancer or having gone through treatment when others did not
- Concerns about being treated differently or discriminated against (by friends, classmates, coworkers, employers, etc.)
- Concerns about dating, marrying, and having a family later in life
No one would choose to have cancer, but for many survivors, the experience can eventually be positive, helping to establish strong self-values. Other survivors may have a harder time recovering, adjusting to life after cancer, and moving on. It is normal to have some anxiety or other emotional reactions after treatment, but feeling overly worried, depressed, or angry can affect many aspects of a young person's growth. It can get in the way of relationships, school, and other aspects of life.
With support from family, friends, other survivors, mental health professionals, and others, many people who have survived cancer can thrive in spite of the challenges they’ve had to face. If needed, doctors and other members of the health care team can often recommend special support programs and services to help children after cancer treatment.
Last Medical Review: 10/29/2012
Last Revised: 01/17/2013