Cancer affects the entire family

Typically, a cancer diagnosis affects the entire family and close friends – not just the patient. Everyday life in families with children usually changes dramatically when a family member is diagnosed with cancer. Families react differently to the situation, and it makes a difference whether the diagnosed person is an adult member of the family or a child.
 
When an adult is diagnosed with cancer, taking care of the children must usually be rearranged and changes in the family’s income considered. Children should be told about the cancer diagnosis and about the effects it will have on their lives, but on an appropriate level considering the child’s age and developmental stage. When the mother or father is diagnosed with cancer, it is vitally important to ensure the children receive sufficient support.
 
When a child is diagnosed with cancer, it is important to continue normal daily routines as far as possible. However, when a child or young adult is diagnosed with cancer, its effects on the family’s day-to-day routines may be dramatic. In addition to staying by the side of the child who is ill, parents should remember to spare some time to other children and to each other as well.
 
SYLVA ry is a Finnish organisation that brings together the parents of children with cancer and offers assistance and support to children and young people with cancer and their parents.
 
In HUS, pediatric cancer patients are mainly treated at the New Chirldren's Hospital. Many pediatric cancers are treated using radiotherapy, which is administered on the radiotherapy ward in the Department of Oncology.