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Methods of communicating with children and adolescents about a family member's cancer

Scott JT, Prictor M, Harmsen M, Broom A, Entwistle VA, Sowden AJ, Watt I
Published Online: 
8 October 2008

Communicating well with children and adolescents about a sibling's cancer can improve their knowledge and understanding as well as their coping, adjustment and wellbeing

It has not been common for families and health practitioners to share information with children or adolescents about a family member's cancer. Interventions to try to help young people cope with cancer in the family include printed information materials, counseling, education and support programs, sibling group programs and art, play and music therapy. The review found limited evidence of some interventions for children and adolescents about a sibling's cancer only. Structured group interventions and camping programs for healthy siblings improved knowledge and understanding about their sibling's cancer, and improved coping, adjustment and wellbeing. There was no evidence of harm.