MISSION: Recovery – Operation Rescue


The idea of chemotherapy and radiation can be confusing for a child. It can be helpful to explain to children how these treatments can help make the cancer go away, but how people can lose their hair as a result.


Treatment is different for each individual. Your medical team will discuss the plan for treatment, and go over approximate timelines with you. You can talk to your kids about your diagnosis even before the whole plan is complete. Once you know what type of treatment will come first, you can introduce and explain that treatment. Some kids desire more information, and might want you to give them the information about all the types of treatment you will likely receive, while others may want to digest smaller pieces of information about treatment one at a time. You and your children can decide what will work best for them.


  • Check your knowledge BEFORE you share – what am I getting, why am I getting it, how long will it take, and where and when will this happen?
  • Use children’s books and resources to help you explain treatment – there are lots of wonderful books out there. Find the one that works best for you and your family.
  • Face hair loss discussion early – some kids are fine with hair loss, while others are not. Make a plan that considers their feelings about hair loss.
  • Acknowledge that plans may change – give kids information that you have about treatments now, and update them regularly, especially if they change.
  • It’s ok to say “I don’t know”. You don’t know before treatment starts how your body will react, so do your best to explain what you expect will happen.

Websites and Games about Chemotherapy and Radiation:

ReMission 2 by Hopelab – includes 6 interactive video games for kids to “fight” cancer using Chemotherapy, Radiation and other treatments. Also available in the APP STORE

Kids Health – information about chemotherapy

Kids Health – information about radiation

Read the next blog, HELP Squad

– Morgan Livingstone

Morgan Livingstone is a Certified Child Life Specialist who offers home support to families going through cancer. To get in touch or find out more info contact morganlivingstone@rogers.com or Tweet @ChildLifeMorgan 

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