Accepting the Diagnosis

Part of accepting the diagnosis means beginning to recognise and express the feelings associated with it. Some parents become angry at themselves, the doctor, the sick child for being sick, other children or their spouse. They also report feeling guilty and that:

  • The diagnosis of their child is retribution for something they did in the past.

  • They did not identify symptoms earlier.

  • The cancer is something they caused from a past event or that it is hereditary.

  • They hadn't cared for their child well enough.

  • About feeling relieved that at last their child is diagnosed after so long.

The reality is that in almost all cases there is nothing you have or haven’t done that caused your child’s illness.

Professional and family/friends support is vital at this stage. At the time of diagnosis, the parents are feeling the most vulnerable but it is also the time when their child needs them the most and is particularly sensitive to the way their parents are reacting and feeling.