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Clinca Trials

Helping Kids Cope

Helping children deal with Mom and Dad's cancer diagnosis

A cancer diagnosis is perhaps the toughest news a person can receive. It’s also the hardest news a parent can be charged with delivering to their child. That’s why the START Center for Cancer Care in San Antonio is partnering with non-profit Wonders & Worries to provide guidance, support, and counseling to children and parents… at no charge.

“How do I tell my child I have cancer?”

Cancer changes everything. The news is overwhelming, and it initiates a whole host of obligations, tests, office visits, lifestyle changes, frequent treatments, side effects, etc. These changes directly impact the family, and in many different ways. And because about one in five adults diagnosed with cancer lives with a minor child, children are often right in the middle.

Kids are profoundly effected, but parents don't know what to do

Children sense the shifts in the emotions and environment around them. Yet, depending on age and other factors, kids struggle to understand what’s going on in the family. They wonder. They worry. They blame themselves and can develop trust issues. And they can be full of fear and uncertainty that affect their mental health, friendships, school performance and growth and development.


At the same time as this is happening, parents struggle with how to inform their children. In many cases, the parents are too busy fighting cancer, and the children are left to continue worrying and wondering.

Helping your child reach an age-appropriate understanding of your fight

At the START Center for Cancer Care, our mission for this Wonders & Worries program is to support the family by letting the parents focus on fighting the disease and helping kids reach their full potential despite Mom or Dad’s illness. We want kids to understand — at an age-appropriate level — the changes in the family routine and to be able to cope effectively with the potential negative effects of cancer in the family. We also empower parents with the resources, support, and guidance to help their family work through the crisis of serious illness.

How our Wonders & Worries program works

Our Wonders & Worries program helps children and teens to:

  • Understand cancer and cancer treatment

  • Express their emotions and feelings about changes in the family

  • Identify coping skills

  • Learn resiliency

These goals are achieved through activities, education, and self-expression. The program begins with an intake meeting between the parents, the child(ren) and a certified Child Life Specialist from Wonders & Worries. From there, we develop an individualized game plan that could include:

  • Play therapy

  • Creative projects

  • Fun activities

  • Sharing sessions

  • Counseling

  • Parenting workshops and training

We will. Together.

What do you say to your 3-year-old? Your 11-year-old who is particularly sensitive? When do you say it? How do you say it?

These and many other questions matter to your cancer fight and to your child’s well-being and development. Children want to feel safe, to feel taken care of, and to know that they’re being heard and validated. While nobody can guarantee their world will be the same, the START Center wants to help your child find stability and reach his or her full potential.


Open to all, at no cost

Our Wonders & Worries program is free of charge and an available service to all cancer patients, not just START patients. It’s all part of our commitment to providing state-of-the-art cancer care with unsurpassed convenience and support.

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For additional information about the Wonders & Worries program at the START Center, please call Wonders & Worries at 210-307-4853 Monday – Friday.

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