Cancer changes everyone in the family.

The whole family will be affected by your illness, and no one comes through this experience unchanged. Cancer treatment is quite stressful at times but you can learn creative and helpful ways to deal with the changes and uncertainty that you and your family will go through. You may not have as much time or energy as you did before, but parenting can’t be postponed. Your kids need you a great deal during this time, and you’ll still need to parent your children through your treatment – even when you may not feel up to it.

You’ll need to guide your children toward accurate information, hopeful ways of looking at the current situation, and healthy ways to cope. There will be times that your kids don’t listen and things don’t work out the way you’d hoped. But being a parent means that sometimes you have to make decisions based on incomplete information, and sometimes you’ll make mistakes. In the words of Wendy Harpham, a mom with cancer who is also a doctor: “There is no one right way to parent. Don’t try to be perfect.”

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: January 29, 2015 Last Revised: April 27, 2015

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