Someone in my family has cancer

Families come in all shapes and sizes – and they are all impacted when a member is diagnosed with cancer. A cancer diagnosis will often change the day-to-day life of the family, in small and big ways.


Here are a few tips for you when someone in your family has cancer.

  • Talk about anticipated changes within the family. Will your responsibilities change? Maybe you will need to step up and take more care of your younger sibblings, or maybe you will be doing more chores around the house?
  • Ask how you can be helpful. A lot of anxiety stems from not knowing what to do in a difficult situation. It is very common to feel utterly useless when a loved one is suffering. Helping out in many small ways is not just nice – it is also a way to feel more in control again.
  • Check out a local support group or online support group for people your age who are in a similar situation. You don’t have to commit to anything long term – just make sure you know your options and keep that avenue open. If it turns out that support groups aren’t your thing, you can drop it.
  • Don’t hesitate to seek help for yourself from outside your family if you need it. Talk to a trusted relative outside your immediate family, your favorite teacher, the parent of a friend, or similar.
  • Your school probably has a school councelor and that can be a good point to start to obtain more help for yourself. The school councelor can help you along, e.g. by giving you counceling sessions and informing your principal about your situation (unless your parents have already done that). It is a good idea to let your principal and teachers know what you are going through, so they can be more accommodating.
  • Seek out information about cancer, cancer treatments, and your family member’s diagnosis. Read about it from reliable sources online or offline, instead of just relying on your family to provide you with info.
  • Don’t neglect your own mental and physical health

This article was last updated on: November 18, 2019