Helping a loved one face cancer is never easy, but the challenge is especially daunting when the patient is your own child. Our clinicians at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center work with pediatric cancer patients and their families every day. Lisa Diller, MD, Anna Muriel, MD, and Jorge Fernandez, LCSW – offer these 9 tips for talking with your children about their illness.
Steven Clifford is an 18-year-old osteosarcoma survivor. A Boston native, he starts college at the University of California, San Diego this month. This is his story. Life is made up of many difficult decisions. However, imagine my surprise when I had to make a tough and potentially life changing decision at the young age of 11. Up until then, I just was an average child who couldn’t wait to get out of school to play any sport imaginable with his friends.
As a cancer researcher, Kimberly Stegmaier, MD, says her chosen profession offers “the mystery and excitement of discovery.” And she says the same is true of her passion outside the laboratory: dance. “It’s a huge hook for me,” she says. Both in scientific research and in working on a dance piece, Stegmaier explains, “You start out testing a hypothesis or an idea, and you don’t know what the results will be. The magic of that unfolding is wonderful.”
Although swollen lymph nodes (also known as swollen glands) are usually a sign of an infection or inflammation, they can, very infrequently, be a sign of cancer or a rare disorder. Rachael Grace, MD, and Christopher Weldon, MD, PhD, co-directors of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center’s Node Assessment Program in Waltham, Mass., offer the following tips for families worried about “lumps and bumps” in their children.
Every Sunday, the Cutter family holds a Chemofeast. The door to their home is open to any and all who wish to attend. It’s a day full of food, beverages, and a lot of laughter, and 15-year-old Blake Cutter gets to choose the menu. Then on Monday, his mother, Lois, drives him to chemotherapy at Dana-Farber.
Maddie Dillon, 17, did not really understand what cancer was when she was diagnosed at age 8. With the help of Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic, she beat her leukemia, but only briefly. Six months later it came back, and she went through more treatment.
Henry Fenollosa’s problems began before he was born, when he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. His infancy was was spent largely at Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic, where he received treatment for his disease with his family looking on. Today, Henry’s an active seven-year-old, who loves to show off his lacrosse stickhandling abilities and his skill on a bicycle. Meet the amazing seven-year-old in this video. Tune into WEEI or NESN to hear Henry live on the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon on August 22, 2012. Henry is scheduled to be on WEEI during the 11 a.m. hour on Wednesday.