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Coping with childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL)

It is extremely distressing to find out that your child has leukaemia. It can raise many different emotions. It is very normal to feel angry, sad, upset and shocked.  It is such a lot to take in. You are likely to worry about whether they will get the right treatment, what will happen, and how you will all cope.

If you have other children most parents and grandparents worry about them as well. Practical help and support is something people nearly always need. This might be help with shopping or with looking after other children in the family.

It is essential that parents and other close family also have support. It doesn’t show weakness to ask for help. Talking to friends and other members of the family can help you deal with your feelings.

Specialist nurses and social workers at the hospital can offer support too. Some centres can also offer more formal psychosocial help and complementary therapies to parents. Ask your child’s clinical nurse specialist if they can let you know what’s available.

Quotes from parents - parents and carers are supported

Organisations that can help

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK has an online forum called CancerChat. Here you’re able to chat to other people, including parents, who are affected by cancer.

For support and information, you can call the Cancer Research UK information nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. They are happy to help. They can give advice about who can help you and what kind of support is available.

Blood Cancer UK

Blood Cancer UK sponsors research into blood cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. They also provide patient information booklets and leaflets that you can download or order from their website. They have information on different types of children’s blood cancers. There is also an online community you may like to join. 

The Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG)

The Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) produces booklets for parents and brothers and sisters of children with cancer that you may find helpful. You can download these from their website.

CLIC Sargent

CLIC Sargent can offer help and support for parents who have a child recently diagnosed, or living with childhood cancer. They can also help you access financial support.

Maggie’s

Maggie’s is a national charity with centres across the UK. They offer care and support to people affected by cancer. Each centre is beside an NHS cancer hospital and is run by specialist staff. If you’re not near a centre, you can access support and information on their website.

The Future Fertility Trust

The Future Fertility Trust is run by a team of doctors, researchers and tissue bank specialists from the University of Oxford and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

It aims to help children and young people at risk of infertility due to illness or treatment. 

Phone: 01865 220 076 (24 hour answer service)
Email: orh-tr.futurefertilitytrust@nhs.net

Other sources of help

Some organisations can put you in touch with a cancer support group. We have information about books, leaflets and other resources about cancer treatment.

Last reviewed: 
25 Nov 2020
Next review due: 
25 Nov 2023
  • Improving Outcomes in Children and Young People with Cancer
    National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), 2005

  • Family Adjustment When Facing Pediatric Cancer: The Role of Parental Psychological Flexibility, Dyadic Coping and Network Support
    K Lambrecht and others
    Frontiers in Psychology, 2019. Volume 10, Page 2470

  • Impact of pediatric cancer on family relationships
    C Erker and others
    Cancer Medicine, 2018. Volume 7, Issue 5, Pages 1680 to 1688

  • Systematic Review: Family Resilience After Pediatric Cancer Diagnosis
    M V Schoors and others
    Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 2015. Volume 40, Issue 9, Pages 856 to 868

  • Children and Young People with Cancer: A Parent’s Guide
    Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG), 2014

  • The information on this page is based on literature searches and specialist checking. We used many references and there are too many to list here. Please contact patientinformation@cancer.org.uk with details of the particular issue you are interested in if you need additional references for this information.