Children experience many different procedures during cancer diagnosis, therapy and follow up care.
These are an essential part of treatment and monitoring its effects, but can be extremely distressing if not handled with sensitivity and understanding.
Procedures range from painless hearing tests to potentially very painful lumbar punctures, from quick eye drops to MRI scans of more than an hour.
While many procedures are pain free, they can cause significant distress for both parent and child without adequate knowledge and understanding of what will happen and how it will feel. This distress can be prevented or reduced by being informed and prepared.
Information and Knowledge
Many procedures are repeated frequently during the treatment and follow up process. Developing a procedure routine and coping strategies will help you and your child remain calm.
Though procedures can be painful or uncomfortable, a child will cope much better with good preparation and appropriate support.
Procedures are often frightening for parents too. You are your child’s best advocate, and she will take her cues from you. So it is vital that you know what to expect and prepare for the specific procedure so you can remain calm to positively support your child
Understanding the procedure and knowing what to expect will reduce your anxiety, and this in turn will significantly reduce your child’s stress.
Child Life Support
Lack of planning and support can lead to loss of trust, poor cooperation, delayed development and long-lasting negative effects for the child )and parent).
Simple compassionate, honest preparation can help your child effectively cope with, and be actively involved in her care.
The goal of child life is maximum time spent on preparation, minimum time spent on the procedure, and minimal distress for both child and parent.
For each procedure described in this section, you will find a link to corresponding information in the Child Life section of this Resource. Please visit the link to find out how you can help your child prepare for and cope with the specific procedure.
Before a procedure, you will be asked to sign a consent form, giving permission for it to be done. Informed consent means you clearly understand about the procedure when you sign the form.
Pain during procedures can be managed with medications or psychological support. A combination of both works best for children.