Explaining Cancer To Kids: Animated Film Shows Practical Tips For Parents Telling Children They Are Sick [WATCH]

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald February 17, 04:00 am
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Being honest and open are important when parents need to explain cancer to kids.
(Photo : Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

It's hard to imagine how parents with cancer can explain their condition to their children. So, the University College London Hospital (UCLH) Cancer Collaborative has released a new animated video with practical tips about telling the kids to help ease the burden for parents.

Produced by Fruit Fly Collective together with UCLH, the animation highlights how honesty is the best approach when explaining cancer to kids, according to BBC. Instead of hiding the truth from the children, the video suggests it's better for parents to be open as kids are perceptive and can usually detect that something is wrong.

There's no need to hold back the tears when telling children a parent has cancer. It will help them understand that crying is a normal response.

"It is about being kind, being honest and being clear, which is not easy at a time of fear, panic, anger and denial," mom Adele Hanna shared. She discussed the truth with her 3-year-old boy when her husband Richard was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The video also reminds parents that children handle cancer revelations differently. Younger children have a simple understanding of illnesses and might think that getting cancer is like catching a cold. Older children, on the other hand, might be worried about the parent dying. It is important, however, to emphasize that while death is very real for some cancer patients, many people with cancer are also able to survive the disease.

The UCLH Cancer Collaborative made the animated video for families based on evidence that children respond better to a "cartoon-like format" when being told of a sensitive truth. They hope that this initiative will be shared on social media.

"This format offers us a simple, easy to follow, method of getting the necessary message across," Carol Leek of Fruit Fly Collective said, according to Nursing Times. "It is at once comforting and familiar to the patient, while at the same time allowing this very important information to be taken in and processed," she added. Watch the animated video below.

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