Every year, on February 15, International Childhood Cancer Day is observed to raise awareness about childhood cancer and to express support for children and adolescents with cancer, the survivors and their families. While there’s growing awareness about cancer in children, its effect on their mental health is still a matter of acute concern.
According to Dr Gauri Kapoor, Medical Director Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre (RGCIRC), Nitibagh and Director, Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at RGCIRC Rohini, “Childhood cancer is curable. However, the treatment is quite intensive. For a few months, the child needs to come to the hospital frequently, and many times, they also require admission, chemotherapy treatments and injections. So, a child’s life is turned upside down during the treatment.”
“Also, he/she can’t understand what’s happening. It’s difficult to explain because many times, the children are so young that we can’t properly make them understand the scientific basis of what we are doing. Thus, it is a very stressful time,” Dr Kapoor said, highlighting the mental health impact of cancer on children.