How cancer affects daily life & routine

Learn about: How cancer affects daily life & routine from Stuart E. Siegel, MD,...
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How cancer affects daily life & routine

Cancer is one of the most destructive diseases, in terms of patients normal life. Whether it's a child of the family or young adult. And, it really, really messes up their life terribly. Number one, for the young child, of course, it's very frightening. And, the parents tendency, often for completely reasonable reasons is to treat that child more carefully. And, try to be overly protective, overly attentive to them. And, what we tell to that parents is, "Treat that child as much as you can the way you did before." Because, what's really frightening to that child is if you suddenly change your behavior to them. That's a message that's something really wrong is going on. "Why is my - My mommy or my daddy used to have rules, and they apply them to me, and they were consistent. All of a sudden they throw the rules out the door, and I can do whatever I want." That's a little bit scary for the kids. And also, it may provoke some uncontrolled behavior in their part. So, we tell them "Treat them the way you did before they got sick." As the kids get older, and they are more in control of their lives, we tell the kids "Really, do as much as you can do normally. We are your partners and trying to help you. Be as normal as you possibly can." We realize cancer isn't normal. I'm not trying to say we can make your life normal. But, to try to make it as normal as possible. Because, that's what I think make kids feel good. So, for instance, we want kids back to school pretty quickly after they're diagnosed. Why? Because, as students, that's their normal life. They feel, "Okay, life is going on." It's the way it was. It's just like you and I, who are working, and suddenly we get sick and we cant' work. And how do we feel not be able to work, sitting at home, going through this treatment? So, the more you can keep that child's life normal the better it is for them psychologically. And that helps in their treatment. When you get to young adults, I think we encourage them to not drop out of school, if the treatment is not disrupting that ability enough. We want to keep them in school, if we can. We certainly want to keep their activities as normal as they can be. On the days that they feel well and can do that. The more normalcy the better. That's the principle.

Learn about: How cancer affects daily life & routine from Stuart E. Siegel, MD,...


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Stuart E. Siegel, MD

Director, Children’s Center for Cancer & Blood Diseases, Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Before recently shifting his focus to international medicine, Stuart Siegel, MD, was Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology for 35 years and the founding director of the the Children’s Center for Cancer & Blood Diseases at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and Professor and Head of the Division of Hematology-Oncology Department of Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California. He remains a leader in supportive care and research in pediatric oncology, with a special focus on neuroblastoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Ewing Sarcoma, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and brain tumors. From developing the first pediatric protective environment in 1971 for children undergoing intensive chemotherapy, to pioneering current efforts to develop academic and clinical care programs nationally and locally for adolescents and young adults with cancer, Dr. Siegel’s contributions have revolutionized the field of pediatric oncology. Dr. Siegel has been honored for his work by the American Cancer Society, Children Foundation, the Cancer Foundation, the Chase Foundation, Padres Contra El Cancer, the Israel Cancer Research Fund and Ronald McDonald House Charities, where he is a member of the National Board, and has consistently been listed among the nation’s top doctors in such publications asAmerica’s Top Doctors and Best Doctors in America. He is a father of one son, Joshua; grandfather of David and Elijah; and lives in Pacific Palisades with his wife of seven years.

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