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There are dozens of camps in the U.S. and around the world that can help patients and families enjoy new experiences together while a loved one is being treated for cancer. Whether it is getting together for a weekend or a week-long retreat, camps are a great way for children being treated for cancer to forget about hospital visits for a bit, get outdoors and have fun with others who understand what they’re going through.
Usually campers and their families pay very little, if anything, for these camps.
It’s completely normal for children being treated for cancer to need medical care while at camp. Many have doctors and nurses on staff. Even still, it is recommended that family members considering a camp talk with their child’s oncologist first.
Many cancer treatment organizations have established camps for their patients. This ensures these camps have the staff and facilities to address the children's special needs. Many have been founded by people touched by cancer in some way – and sometimes the counselors are cancer survivors themselves.
Many camps operate throughout the year. While virtually all are open in the warmer months, many have programs available in other seasons as well.
Ped-Onc Resource Center has a list of camp programs for children with cancer and their families in every state with program descriptions and contact information. Cancer.net includes a recommended list of camps, online links to each program and a short description. And the Children's Oncology Camping Association International (COCA-I) includes information on nearly 100 oncology camps. To learn more about camps for children and families living with cancer, talk with an oncology nurse or social worker to find what is available in your area.
Together does not endorse any branded product mentioned in this article.
Reviewed: June 2018