niños con cáncer

February 15 is celebrated around the world the International Day of Childhood Cancer, a disease that are diagnosed every year in Chile, approximately 500 children under the age of 15 years.

The director of nursing Oncology Mary Help, Damián Enríquez, is a psychologist at the University of the Pacific, a specialist in psycho-oncology and knows the reality of the families with children with cancer; an experience difficult and that it requires a type of special intervention.

And is that the experience of a child with cancer tends to be very hard for the parents and family, due to the association of cancer with death. “In these cases, rarely a father or mother is prepared to visualize the possibility that a child dies before them. Before this, inside of the main recommendations that might be noted, is that parents should not be attributed to faults unnecessary by the illness of her son,” says Enriquez.

The specialist indicated that it is also important to normalize the condition of the son, and child of the patient. “This is considering that having a disease does not relieve you of your rights and responsibilities, as they are doing their homework, allowing him to play and socialize, etc”, he warns.

On the psychological intervention, explains that in children is variable, depending on how to tackle the disease. “In my personal experience, young children are to the naked eye do not show many psychological symptoms, presenting mainly separation anxiety, and irritability, that tends to be associated to the treatments and some behaviors regressive to be expected, for what the intervention will many times associated with the coping of the hospital context and treatments”, says director of nursing Oncology Mary Help.

In the face of this, the psycho-oncologist says that the game is a very important element. “Many interventions are carried out with the parents, both at the level of psychoeducation as parenting strategies, so that they can better address some of the behaviors expected in children, but the parents do not have knowledge of how to handle them,” he says.

Cancer in adolescents

In the case of adolescents, the psychologist of University of the Pacific explains that the disease has more impact on their identity in the younger children, so that they can be manifested in a more visible symptoms of anxiety and depression, manifesting in irritability. “Also they are more recognizable behaviors regressive, and may become over demanding of their parents, which causes a lot of wear in them as caregivers,” she says.

Isolation is another element that is observed in teenagers and you also have to pay attention to. “Although it is part of the very process of adolescent development, this disease can be intensified”, says the expert, who adds that at that stage there is already a concept in a more concrete and realistic view of death, which leads him to come face to face with fears very deep. “It is for this reason that adolescent interventions can be more direct, inquiring into the concerns, fears, concerns, etc, that may exist,” concludes the director of nursing Oncology Mary's Help, Damian Enriquez.

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