Cancer occurs when a group of cells in the body stop working correctly and prevent the healthy cells doing their job. The cells grow into a lump or tumor, and this is called Cancer.
Cancer can be treated in different ways. The most common are surgery, where the lump is taken out, or Chemotherapy (pronounced: kee-mo-thair-uh-pee) where medicine is used to stop or slow down the growth of the cancer cells. Although a lot of cancer can be removed, often there are times it returns or stays with a patient for years.
Truth: Unfortunately cancer can happen to anyone at any age. Although it can be seen as a common disease in older people, children and babies can develop it from an early age.
Truth: Hugging and touching your friends and family wont pass on cancer. It is a disease on the inside, and cannot be passed on by simply touching someone. It is important for children suffering from cancer to know this as support from friends and family is essential for the recovery process.
In any Children’s hospital there are lots of different people whose job is to get you better and home as quickly as possible. They all do different things in different ways but are all very friendly and very nice.
The Children’s Cancer Ward is known as the Children’s Haematology Unit or CHU for short. It is an 8 single-bedded ward with each room having a bed for you and a bed for either Mum or Dad. Each room has a TV and DVD and recently we have had WiFi installed into the unit. You will therefore be able to keep in contact with your friends with Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites. You will also be able to Skype from your room and see and talk to those friends and family who might not be able to visit you in hospital.
The play area at the Children’s Cancer Unit is a great way for children to make new friends. Its a fun area for children of all ages to relax and have fun, as well as meet other children like yourself. With toys, games and plenty of activities for children of all ages.
In the CHU we have a school teacher. She is very nice and she will help you keep up with your school work while you stay in hospital. There is a school room where you and some of the other children on the ward can attend provided of course you feel well enough to do this. If not, the teacher can bring work into your room for you to do either with the teacher or with your mum or dad.
When a young person has cancer it’s a big change for the whole family. Parents become more worried and want to make sure you’re always safe. Brothers and sisters might also become more worried about you and start asking questions about your condition.
It’s perfectly alright if this can get too much sometimes, simply ask your family for some time alone. However recovery is always better when there’s support, and your family will always support you.
Sometimes when people find out their friends have cancer, they can begin to act differently. Some become extra supportive whilst others may act a bit strange. It’s important to let your friends know you’re still you, and that you still want to be part of what’s going on, and spend time with them when you’re well enough.
At the cancer unit we have a special play area for our young patients to mingle with each other and make new friends during their stay here. Having friends go through the same experience as you can be a great comfort.