In Chile, childhood cancer is a disease that the year is diagnosed in approximately 500 children under the age of 15 years. An experience difficult and that it requires a type of special intervention. For this reason it becomes necessary to know because the psychological support for children with cancer.
The director of nursing Oncology Mary Help, Damián Enríquez, who is a psychologist of the University of the Pacific and a specialist in psycho-oncology, knows well the reality of families of children with cancer, an experience that tends to be very hard for the parents and family, due to the association of cancer with death.
“Rarely does 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 child and the child with cancer.
“You have to consider 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 the young 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 is often associated with 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.
Against this, the psycho-oncologist says that the game is a very important element in children with cancer.
“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,” he 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”
The expert adds that at that stage there is already a concept in a more concrete and realistic view of death, which leads him to confront deepest fears.
“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.