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Talking to children about cancer

When a parent, relative or friend is diagnosed with cancer it can often cause anxiety about whether children should be told, and if so how much to tell them and how to go about sharing information with them. 

Click on the coloured links below for websites, and other information, that you may find useful if you want to know more about talking to a child when an adult, or friend, has cancer.

Macmillan Cancer Support - talking to children and teenagers

Macmillan Cancer Support aims to improve the lives of people affected by cancer by providing practical, medical, emotional and financial support.

They also produce booklets on different types of cancer and on aspects of living with cancer, including a booklet  called "Talking to children and teenagers when an adult has cancer".  Copies of this can be obtained from the Cancer Information Centre, or direct from Macmillan on the telephone number shown below.

Freephone helpline – 0808 808 00 00

Cancer Research UK - talking to children

The Cancer Research UK website has information on different types of cancer and living with cancer.

Cancer Research UK freephone helpline: 0808 800 4040

Marie Curie - Questions children may ask when someone is ill

Information from Marie Curie about talking to children if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. 

Breast Cancer Now

Produces "Mummy's lump", a book for families needing to talk about cancer with young children.

Secret C for children can be purchased -from Winstons Wish

Myeloma UK


A website developed especially for teenagers who have a parent with cancer.

Cancer Information Centre

Contact us if you need more information or advice.

 This page last reviewed 19/06/2023