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Together is a new resource for anyone affected by pediatric cancer - patients and their parents, family members, and friends.

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Social Work and Practical Matters

When your child is diagnosed with cancer, it’s as if the whole family has been diagnosed with cancer. While your child is being treated, your pediatric oncology social worker can be a lifeline.

Social workers can help your family deal with the emotional issues surrounding cancer treatment and the practical matters of day-to-day life. A social worker is part of your child’s cancer care team and, at many centers, will likely be one of the first people you meet. If for some reason you haven’t met your social worker after the first few days of treatment, please ask a member of your child’s care team to connect your family to the social work department.

Pediatric oncology social worker completing forms with dad and young patient in hospital bed.

Social workers can assist from the time you first learn of your child's cancer through the end of treatment and beyond.

Social workers can assist from the time you first learn of your child’s cancer through the end of treatment and beyond. After a child’s diagnosis, the family will never be the same, and social workers can work with your family to create and maintain a “new normal” way of life. Your child’s social worker assesses your family’s needs and develops a plan to support them.

Every hospital is different, but social workers may assist patient families with how to

  • Talk with your child about illness.
  • Help brothers, sisters and other family members adjust.
  • Pay for cancer treatment.
  • Apply for government benefits.
  • Secure housing, food, and transportation during treatment.
  • Help patients remain connected to school to keep up with studies as much as possible during cancer treatment and return to school successfully when it’s time.
  • Find community support resources in or near your hometown.
  • Connect with wish-granting organizations.

Pediatric oncology social workers play an essential role in cancer treatment.


Reviewed: June 2018

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