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Communication is the sharing of information, ideas, thoughts or feelings. Communication skills are important for building healthy relationships and managing daily concerns.
For families facing a serious illness, communication needs can be overwhelming and exhausting.
On top of daily needs and life demands, families have to:
Families face many more communication needs during childhood cancer. There are also added barriers:
To overcome common barriers, it can help to consider how people share information. At a basic level, communication involves people (the sender and recipient), a message (the information, thought, idea, or feeling), and a method (the way the information is shared). At any part of the process, a communication breakdown can occur. Some basic communication strategies may help, especially during times of stress.
No family is prepared for the communication challenges of childhood cancer. As much as possible, be open and honest with the medical team and with one another. Talk about struggles and concerns, and ask for help. Support for communication is available from many sources including psychology, child life, social work, and spiritual care.
Reviewed: February 2023