Support for children and their families

There is lots of help and support available for children, their parents, siblings and other family members.

Although about 80 out of 100 children (about 80%) are now successfully treated, childhood cancer is still devastating for everyone concerned.

Treatment can last for months, or even years, which means long stays in hospital and being away from the home, school, friends and siblings. School age children may fall behind.

Even though children’s wards have teachers to keep the children's school work up to date, side effects from the cancer and its treatment often make children very tired. They might not always feel like not doing anything, except having a cuddle with mum or dad.

Helping families cope

Childhood cancer survivors are at an increased risk of low mood, anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder or phobias related to having medical treatment.

Researchers have been looking at how families cope when a child has cancer and what factors are important in making the child (and family) either more vulnerable or better able to cope with cancer and its consequences.

As well as the doctors and nurses on the ward, you and your child will be supported by a number of professionals during and after treatment, including:

  • your GP
  • cancer nurse specialists
  • social workers
  • play specialists
  • psychologist or psychotherapist

Getting information and support

There is a lot of support available to help you and your child.

Cancer Research UK Information Nurses

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 can give advice about who can help you and what kind of support is available.

Children's cancer organisations

We have more information on different children's cancer organisations. You can contact for them for information, help and support. 

Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG)

The Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) have a booklet called Children and Young People with Cancer: A Parent's Guide. This booklet is for parents or carers of a child diagnosed with cancer.

It gives general information about childhood cancer, treatments and where to get further information and support. It is helpful for parents and grandparents. The CCLG also has factsheets about individual types of children’s cancer and their treatment.

Cancer Chat

Cancer Research UK has an online forum called Cancer Chat. You might find it helpful to join the forum to:

  • talk to other people whose children or grandchildren have cancer
  • share your experiences
  • find information
Quotes from parents - seek out support groups
Last reviewed: 
19 Oct 2020
Next review due: 
19 Oct 2023
  • Childhood Cancer Statistics, England Annual Report 2018
    Public Health England (PHE), 2018

  • Children's Cancer Statistics
    Incidence Statistics from Cancer Research UK (Cancer Stats)
    Accessed October 2020

  • Cancer and its management (7th edition)
    J Tobias and D Hochhauser 
    Wiley - Blackwell, 2015

  • Long term follow-up of survivors of childhood cancer: summary of updated SIGN guidance
    W H B Wallace and others
    BMJ, 2013. Volume 346

  • The Impact of a Childhood Cancer Diagnosis on the Children and Siblings’ School Attendance, Performance, and Activities: A Qualitative Descriptive Study
    A Tsimicalis and others
    Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, 2018. Volume 35, Pages 118 to 131

  • 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 with details of the particular issue you are interested in if you need additional references for this information.

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