Talking to Your Children About Your Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis

Why Do They Need to Know?

It is normal to question whether your children really need to know you have cancer. You may be well in no time, and there's a possibility that they would never even need to know. On the other hand, if you wind up in the hospital and they haven't been prepared, the sudden impact could cause them a lifetime of questions that you may not be able to answer.
One of the main foundations of a strong family is trust. If you choose to hide information about cancer, your children may still pick up on some of your tension or stress. This may cause them to think you are hiding something from them.
If they hear bits and pieces of conversations you might have with others, it can cause cracks to start to form in their trust in you. If you withhold information from them in the beginning, they may no longer trust you later on. Also, imagine how tough it would be if your child found out about your cancer from someone else. 
Although you may try to convince yourself that you will be fine and your children don't need to know about your diagnosis, cancer is an extremely difficult secret to keep from anyone, including your children. If children see you lose your hair or become very weak and they have no idea what's going on, they may start to think the worst.
It may also help to give you peace of mind in knowing that there has been some research done on this topic. Studies have shown that children prefer for their loved one to be honest and open about their cancer diagnosis. When children find out that they've been kept in the dark, they tend to believe that what is happening is too serious or too scary to talk about, leaving them with a feeling of isolation and abandonment.
Based on their age and coping abilities, children and adolescents need to understand and be involved in your cancer treatment. This will help to teach them that being part of a family means supporting one another. They can learn how to talk about their feelings and, although it may be difficult at times, they will learn from you about how to tackle serious challenges that life may throw at them.
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