Living with a child with cancer needs teamwork from your family, relatives and friends. The information book provides information around eating well, mouth and dental care, exercise and physical activity, fatigue and sleepiness, if your child is sick, immunisation, school, pets and being SunSmart.
Your child might eat a little less than usual during treatment. There are many reasons for this. Your child may be very tired or feel quite sick. It is very common for taste to change during active chemotherapy treatment. Children can often develop a dislike for things they normally eat. Sometimes it is better not to give your child their favourite foods too often when he/she is feeling unwell.
Even if your child feels unwell, it is important they do not go too long without eating. If you are concerned speak to your child’s treating team. For more information to help you with your child’s eating refer to the resources below, or speak to your child’s treating team:
- Eating well
- Fussy eating
- High energy food and drink
- High energy diet for infants
- Tube feeding
- Dealing with increased appetite when taking steroids
- Breastfeeding a child on treatment
Mouth and dental care
During treatment, some children get a sore mouth and may develop mouth ulcers. The most effective way to prevent mouth ulcers is to maintain good oral hygiene. This mouthcare resource provides advice on taking care of your child’s teeth and mouth during treatment.
If your child is sick
If your child is sick you may need to go to your local doctor or to the Emergency Department at your child’s hospital. You might worry that your child may catch an infection in the Emergency Department. In fact, most infections in children with low blood counts occur from germs in the patient’s own body and are not caught from others. More information is available in the information book. There is also a resource to assist if your child has come into contact with chickenpox or measles during and after cancer treatment.
During treatment and for a while after, your child should not have immunisations without your oncologist’s approval. You can get a letter of exemption from school immunisations from your treating team if required. If your child has a wound that needs a tetanus shot, for example a wound from rusty iron, an animal bite or a dirty puncture wound, contact your child’s treating team immediately. For more information refer to the following resources:
Social media is a common way of sharing information with family and friends and reaching out to the wider social community to seek and share advice and support. This social media resources provides advice on how you can carefully use social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and emails to share and discuss your child’s cancer information.