Having a cancer diagnosis can be hard enough, and if you have young children it can be a further worry as you may need extra support to look after them. Your family life and normal routines might be affected by hospital visits and treatments, making it difficult to look after your children in the way you want.
It can feel difficult to ask for help but it is important that you do. Knowing that your children are safe while you manage your cancer can help you relax. And it can mean the time you spend with your children is likely to feel more enjoyable. This blog may give you some ideas of how you can get help with childcare.
You may have a family member or friend you can ask to help with picking up children from school and nursery, or taking care of them when you have hospital appointments. Or you can ask if they could help with housework, cooking or shopping. People are usually happy to help and are just waiting to be asked.
If your child is at school, contact the headteacher or form teacher about childcare the school may provide before or after the school day. Some schools have a member of staff who manages the welfare of children, and they may be aware of local childcare services you could also speak to.
Your GP, cancer doctor or specialist nurse may be able to direct you to local childcare providers as well. They can also talk to you about sources of emotional support for children when a parent has cancer.
Your employer may be able to offer flexible working to help you work around childcare and cancer treatment. Talk to your manager or your Human Resources (HR) department about this.
If you don’t have family or friends to help out, your local social services department is a good place to start for finding out about possible childcare options.
You can also contact your local council’s Family Information Service to get a list of the childcare services and family hubs in your area. In some areas, this is called a Childcare Information Service.
Social workers can also advise you about the childcare available in your local area. Your GP or child’s teacher can refer you.
There are different types of help available towards childcare costs.
Depending on your situation, you might be able to get free childcare, or help from the government to pay for childcare. You can find out more about government help with childcare costs at:
If you are on certain benefits such as Income Support or Universal Credit, you may be able to apply for free school meals. If you are on a low income, you may be able to get help with school uniform costs. Talk to your child’s teacher or contact your local authority.
You can find further information in these pages on our website:
Charities that provide free support and practical help with looking after children include:
Parenting with cancer is a project run by the Fruitfly Collective and offers additional support.
If you are having difficulties with childcare, you can contact a Macmillan cancer support specialist on 0808 808 00 00.
my husband has cancer. He would not allow me to tell anyone. It is embarrassing fir him.
My father died of cancer. I just heard my neohew's young wife has stage 4 breast cancer in Australia. I was diagnosed as having lung cancer but turned out to be false alarm. It was lung infection but doctors and hospital thought it was cancer. I usually charge other people for advising them or talking yo them. So it is hard to tell anyone of my own issues
I wish I have a wife doing all the house work and keep everything in order instead of me doing nearly all housework
I blame statin drug for my husband's liver problem and cancer. But nobody agree with me