Initial reactions when your child has cancer

This information was written by the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG).

Although many children with cancer can be cured, it is still devastating to hear that your child has cancer. Both you and your child will have many different feelings and emotions.

When told the diagnosis, you may feel numb or as if you’ve been physically hit. Some of the feelings you have may include fear, denial, sadness, guilt and anger. These are normal reactions. It’s important to remember that it’s not your fault your child has cancer and it’s not because of anything you’ve done or you have not done.

When a child is diagnosed with cancer, it obviously has a big effect on the whole family. Your child’s routine is likely to change, they may have to stay in hospital for treatment, and they’re likely to have regular hospital appointments.

This may feel overwhelming for you, your child and the rest of the family. But there are many healthcare professionals and support organisations who can help you though this difficult time.

Children's cancer information from CCLG

This information about children’s cancer was written by the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG). It has been reviewed and edited by their publications committee, which includes medical experts from all fields of children’s cancer and care.

Back to About children's cancers

Survival rates

There have been huge improvements in cancer treatment for children and more children than ever are surviving cancer.

Medical terms explained

Doctors may use unfamiliar words about your child's cancer and we explain some of the most common ones.