The Impact of Childhood Cancer Beyond the Afflicted: A Literature Review
TitleThe Impact of Childhood Cancer Beyond the Afflicted: A Literature Review
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AbstractThe sudden diagnosis of childhood cancer can be life-threatening and pose a substantial challenge to families. When a child is diagnosed, the family is expected to take on new responsibilities and learn new skills. The family's functioning may alter for long periods of time, which is not always simple, and for many families, it can result in severe emotional stress that lasts for a very long time. In this literature review, seven articles in the PubMed database met the common themes identified (a) the needs and impacts of the family experiencing childhood cancer, (b) social support and siblings of children with cancer, and (c) parental distress related to the diagnosis of childhood cancer. These themes underline the need to increase awareness of the potential emotional harm that these patients and their families might experience. Families are often forced to rearrange their current lifestyles by altering routines and family responsibilities. The importance of illness management regimens combined with physical symptoms like pain and exhaustion are likely to interfere with many aspects of everyday life for not only the children but also for their parents and siblings. It is important to properly assess the family involved to provide sufficient care, as they are also affected. Without proper interventions, family members and children can experience a sufficient amount of emotional, psychosocial, and physical distress that can last for many years.