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When a child has a parent or sibling with cancer they are likely to experience complex emotions.
They may feel confused about the illness or worried about the potential death of a loved one. They may even feel guilty or try to assign blame. It is not uncommon for these feelings to affect the young person's behaviour at school. For example, they may become disruptive or withdrawn, become frustrated or upset easily, fall behind in class work or play truant.
It's important for the school staff to be aware of the cancer diagnosis in the family and of any additional help and support needed for the children.
The child may be questioned or teased about the illness in their family. If possible the young person's parent(s) or guardian(s) should try to talk to them about how to deal with their peers in these situations. The child should know what information has been given to their classmates so they can try to consider the questions that might come up.
We have information and advice about talking to children when an adult has cancer|, which covers questions children might ask and their potential reactions.
if you would like advice on how to cope with the needs of a child when someone close to them has cancer you might find it helpful to call our cancer support specialists|.
We also have information for young carers| of people with cancer.
Our Teen Info on Cancer| website has information for teenagers affected by cancer. They can also create a profile, read blogs and connect with other young people.
If you have any questions about Macmillan we would love to hear from you| .
You can also follow us| on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or YouTube.
© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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