Knowing who to contact and connect with throughout each stage can reduce uncertainty and miscommunication.2 Family members can build further trust with the hospital or school and feel less alone if they have a contact person at the institution. Addressing families’ feelings of being alone is important as this can cause additional stress and pressure for each family member. Hospital-based programs can help connect families with others that are going through similar experiences. Individual support, as well as support groups, can minimize the stressors that arise.1 Encouraging open communication about one’s experience can ensure that necessary accommodations are available for the child. Reading material and resources related to a child’s diagnosis and treatment are also helpful for parents to refer to if any changes do develop.3

Additional Techniques

There are many useful techniques for helping children experiencing symptoms of chemo brain. Keeping survivors’ brain active with activities and games is a fun, integrative way for children to better manage potential adverse effects. Puzzles, crosswords, and word games can help keep a child’s mind sharp during and after cancer treatment. Depending on the specific long-term effect that arises, many behavioral, pharmacologic, physical, and cognitive therapies are available to help survivors of childhood cancers.1 In addition, ongoing communication with the child’s healthcare team, as well as continuing a healthy diet and sleep schedule are also beneficial.2


Lauren Chatalian is an oncology social worker with CancerCare. 


References

1. Höhn G. Talk on chemo-brain. Oral presentation at: CancerCare Staff Development Training; January 26, 2018; New York, NY.

2. Castellino SM, Ullrich NJ, Whelen MJ, Lange BJ. Developing interventions for cancer-related cognitive dysfunction in childhood cancer survivors. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014;106(8):dju186.

3. Learning problems during or after treatment. CureSearch for Children’s Cancer website. https://curesearch.org/Learning-Problems-During-or-After-Treatment. Accessed March 7, 2018.