It has been proven that art therapy is effective in treating a variety of physical and mental problems. Patients diagnosed with terminal illnesses, who have mental disorders or disabilities, or who are very stressed and suffer from anxiety can all benefit from art therapy. It is a wonderful way to express yourself and also relax.
For children with cancer, there are many ways of using art therapy. Now, we aren’t therapists ourselves, but we have observed and did some research. These are some ways that we think art therapy can be used to help children with cancer.
- Painting feelings and fears – Children are often incapable of explaining how they feel because they don’t yet have the words or the understanding to explain it. Older children may just struggle to say what they feel because they are afraid. Asking them to paint or draw what they feel is a creative way to let them express those feelings with complete freedom.
- Dance how you feel – Free dancing can also help them express how they feel and you will most likely get a very clear idea in the way they move and even the music they choose. They may have free flowing movements or very short and hard movements. Trained therapists will be able to better interpret these things and get an understanding of what the child is feeling.
- Playing instruments – This works in the same way as dancing. An angry child may bang drums or play really loudly and with aggression. A calm or scared child may play very softly. The choice of instrument may also be indicative of what the child is thinking and feeling.
- Relaxation – Art has a calming effect and can help your child relax. So, all the above points have this effect as an added bonus. Art can be used for the express purpose of making the person relax. This can be done in different ways guided by a trained therapist. This is also the reason why adult coloring has become so popular.
- Movement – Movement through dancing can help with physical therapy, muscle development, exercise, and relaxing the body. Exercise is good for the body, even the body of your sick child. Dancing or any type of physical movement guided by a therapist or during free form can help your child feel better. The body requires movement and the muscles need to be used. Dancing in itself has many emotional and mental benefits and will inevitably have a positive effect on your child.
Art therapy is efficient and successful for almost anyone. From children with cancer to adults who just need to relax, it can help. We here at Children Cancer Fund are big fans of art therapy. You can read some more articles on art therapy here and here.
A cancer diagnosis comes with a whole host of feelings and emotions and fears. The moment the doctor says those words, you know your life and the life of your child will forever be changed. Dealing with cancer is always a tough road, but there are things that you can do to make things easier to understand and process.
Let’s look at some tips from cancer patients and health professionals.
Get the facts and understand the cancer diagnosis – As a parent, you should know everything there is to know so you can understand and explain it to your child. Know what type of cancer it is, what the prognosis is, what treatments are available, where the cancer is, how serious it is, what stage it is in, the risks involved with certain treatments, etc.
Communicate – Always keep communicating with the doctors, your child, therapists, family and friends. You may need to do this on behalf of your child for some time but older children should be encouraged to also continue communicating.
Take a deep breath – Some days things will get really hectic and scary and you will feel overwhelmed. On these days, take a deep breath and refocus. Listen to what is said, stay calm with what is happening, and keep your head.
Get the best doctor for the disease – There are many different types of cancer and it is important that you find the best oncologist for your child’s specific type and diagnosis. Oncologists have specialities and it is important to have a doctor that understands the condition better than anyone else.
Hire a team of professionals – A team of different healthcare professionals is your best option for recovery and living a good life despite the cancer. Oncologists, dieticians, psychologists, art therapists, chiropractors, etc. all have valuable input and their combined advice and treatments will definitely help with living well and dealing with cancer better.
Have a healthy lifestyle – This is something everyone should do, but with a cancer diagnosis it is even more important. Your child’s body is already sick and you need to try and help that little body heal itself and feel better. The best way to do that is by having your child eat fresh fruits and vegetables and especially the green stuff that they just love so much. It may be a challenge, but eating healthy is important.
Lots of sleep – Your child’s body needs a lot of rest and getting at least seven or eight hours of sleep is ideal. Enough sleep will allow your child’s body to rest and be better able to deal with treatments and healing itself. It will also make them mentally stronger and better able to cope.
Get some exercise – Exercise is important. The type of cancer and the stage will determine how active your child can be, but it is important to have some activity. Walking, playing, swimming, or just some muscle exercises will all be good.
Many people are living with cancer and they have full and healthy lives. These tips will help you and your child to have the same kind of life. As a parent, you may need to drive these things until they can do so themselves. Always remember to allow your friends and family to help. They want to.
Living with cancer is no picnic, but it also doesn’t have to be sad and lonely and depressing all the time. This is especially important when it comes to children living with cancer. It is important that children be able to live their lives as normal as cancer allows. No matter whether the diagnoses say they will only live a month or they may live for years. Children are children and they need to experience certain things to have a good life regardless of their disease.
So, how can you as the parent or friend help make their lives wonderful?
1. Give them lots of love and compassion. Knowing that there are people that truly love them and will stick with them through anything, is medicine in itself. It helps them feel good and appreciated. It helps to encourage positivity and also to talk about what they are feeling and what their fears are.
2. Allow them to be a kid. The methods you can use for this will depend on whether your child is in hospital or home. Allow your child to play with toys and other children in the hospital or neighbourhood. Let them take part in programs like art therapy and let them play video games or watch television. If possible, take them to the park to play and go on walks with the dog. Play catch and just allow them to have fun and be kids. The seriousness of the cancer and level of mobility may put some restrictions on this, but if you really try, you will find ways to allow your child a full childhood.
3. Just be there. Many people say that you can call them whenever you need them. More often than not, when you call, they don’t come through. One of the best ways to help a child with cancer enjoy life, is to have those friends and family to support them. Visit them and have long discussions. Watch a movie together. Bring their favorite sweets. Play board games on their hospital bed, etc. Follow through if you said you would be there.
4. Allow them to say how they feel. This may be difficult with children that are very young, but older children and teenagers should be allowed to express how they feel. They should also be allowed a say in decisions to be made about their treatment and condition. Even if you as the parent do not agree with what they want, you need to listen and take into account what they want. This will not be easy, but it is important that they feel like they have some control over what happens to them
5. Always encourage and support. There will be good days and bad days and sometimes it will be really tough, but always be supportive and keep encouraging therapy and social activities and playing. This will help prevent a collapse into depression or complete isolation.
We always see people with perfect smiles on the television, magazines, newspapers and on the internet. Everyone can have those perfect white teeth too. Even if you have a missing tooth, damaged teeth or any dental imperfections, it can still be possible for you.
You might already be familiar with some of the procedures that can be done to help improve the features of the teeth. With cosmetic dentistry, there are veneers, implants, dentures and more others.
Some procedures cost more than others. However, the feeling of having the perfect set of teeth is priceless. See just how much cosmetic dentistry can change your life.
Cosmetic Dentistry to Have That Perfect Smile
There can be a lot of reasons for you to have an imperfect set of teeth. It could be an accident, poor dental care or medical conditions that have caused you to have an imperfect smile. This shouldn’t be much of a problem.
One can resort to cosmetic dentistry to have that perfect smile. The treatments, surgeries or procedures are all worthwhile to have to improve the appearance of your teeth. From braces to crowns, you can choose from or be a candidate for the many services that your dentist offers.
If you have questions about anything in relation to dental health or services, call competent dentists so they may help you out with your inquiry.
Cosmetic Dentistry Can Help Boost Your Self-Confidence
There are a lot of great services that your dentist can offer you. From whitening to getting dentures, cosmetic dentistry can help boost your self-confidence. It can be hard to have missing or severely damaged teeth.
Cosmetic dentistry can help a patient gain more confidence simply by improving the appearance of the teeth. If you are suffering from any dental issues, go to your dentist today and ask what needs to be done to improve the condition of your teeth.
Take Great Care of Your Dental Health
Although cosmetic dentistry can help you out a lot, prevention is still better than cure. You have to take great care of your dental health. If that isn’t a sufficient option, patients can then turn to their dentists.
It is important for a family to start training the kids to be visiting the dentist at an early age. This can best show them the importance of going to the dentist. This can also then let them learn the different services that a dentist can offer.
They can then learn about porcelain crowns, Invisalign, teeth whitening and many other professional services that dentists provide.
Remember if you want to improve the appearance of your teeth and your self-confidence, Stockton dentistry services are available for you. Look for a reputable dentist so you can expect quality work. Take great care of your teeth and if it comes to it, know that cosmetic dentistry can be availed.
Learn more about each procedure so you may know the advantages and disadvantages of each. You’ll learn that some may require invasive surgeries. However, there are still some conservative approach. Call your dentist so you may know how he or she may help you.
Communicating with children who have cancer and their parents make most people uncomfortable. They don’t know what to say and what not to say. This uncertainty often makes the whole situation even more uncomfortable for everyone. To help out all our readers and patients, Children Cancer Fund would like to share a few tips on what to say and what not to say. Remember that there are no exact rules or ways to react. The most important thing is to just show compassion and be there in whichever way you may be needed.
What NOT to say to children and teenagers
“I know how you feel”- Unless you also have cancer, that is definitely not something you want to say.
Don’t offer advice if not asked – If you haven’t been through a similar experience, your advice may not be accepted well. You don’t understand the situation or how these kids feel and they will not believe that your advice is valid.
“Everything will be okay” – You don’t know that and you will most likely be seen as a liar or insincere. There are no guarantees with cancer and even though you may mean well, this phrase will not always be taken well.
Tell them to always be happy or positive – Yes, they should stay positive and hopeful, but sometimes they need to be allowed to just be afraid and angry and unsure. They will appreciate a friend who can stick by them through that much more than one that only wants to see the happy.
“Everything will be back to normal soon” – This ties in with ‘everything will be okay’. Apart from the fact that you don’t know this to be true, your child, family member, friend, or co-worker will never be the same. Going through a battle with cancer is something that changes your life forever. You will never look at things the same or experience things the same. You will always support others who are going through the same things and you will likely never ‘get over it’. That’s another one to avoid.
What NOT to say to parents with children with cancer
Don’t offer advice – You don’t know how they feel or what exactly the situation is. If you don’t have experience with what they’re going through, keep the advice to yourself.
Don’t use platitudes – This may be the one thing that can really cause a problem. Parents who have a child fighting cancer, don’t want to hear how there is a reason for everything or that God must be punishing them or that it is God’s will that this happened. None of those things helps them or makes them feel better. It is also very hard for these parents to imagine why God would allow this to happen.
Don’t judge them – Again, you are not in their shoes and you don’t know what they are struggling with. Don’t judge decisions that you don’t understand and don’t tell them you would have done it differently. It’s not your child and you don’t know.
Instead of these things, rather just let both child and parents know that you are there for them, that you love them, and that you will support where ever and however you can. When you say these things, make sure to follow through. You can find more resources about this on the RESOURCES page.
Art is universal and has many different mediums. Art can inspire and say things that are otherwise difficult to say. Art speaks for us and to us in the most amazing ways.
Art therapy helps to heal us mentally, emotionally, and physically. There are many facets to this statement. Any form of art whether it is dance, drawing, painting, playing music, coloring, building something, is good for our psychological well-being. The reasons for this are multiple.
Art allows us to express feelings, emotions, and thoughts about experiences and situations that we either cannot express in words or don’t know how to express. This is how children with cancer communicate and deal with their fears, frustrations, anger, and anxiety about their disease. It helps them express their feelings in a way that makes them feel good and does not harm anyone. Art does the same for people who don’t suffer from any diseases but simply need to also deal with life and difficult situations.
Art gives us something to do. For children who cannot go anywhere or who are stuck in a hospital, art can give purpose. It gives them something to do and feel good about. If they know their works may be sold, it gives them a sense of pride and purpose which makes them positive. Positivity is key to being mentally strong and dealing with cancer.
Art is a distraction. This again applies to anyone whether they have a terminal disease or not. Art makes us forget about pain, anxiety, bad news, sickness, sadness, etc. This is also where the physical healing of art comes in. Not only does it make pain and discomfort more bearable but it also releases happy hormones that make us feel better. You may not be administering drugs to your body, but the effect is the same.
Art battles depression. Many cancer patients have the risk of becoming severely depressed about their diagnosis and future. This is even the case in young children. Being creative and making things that give you purpose and make you feel good, helps to battle depression. If you feel good and like you have something to live for, it is more difficult to give in to depression.
Art can help improve mobility. Dancing and playing instruments can help with physical movement and mobility. After traumatic treatments or when children get antsy, movement is a great way to make them feel better. They can express themselves and be silly and also give their muscles some exercise.
Art is holistic healing. The effects of creating art are numerous and very positive. This positivity and good feelings help to heal the body and the mind in many ways. It may not be a cure for cancer or other difficult situations, but it definitely helps to reduce negative feelings.
Come and see what our child cancer patients have to say by joining our events where their art is for sale. These events and sales are aimed at raising funds for research and treatments.
Cancer influences a child’s development in different ways. We look at some of the effects on social, emotional, and cognitive development in today’s article. Children Cancer Fund sees a lot of children with cancer and we also see how the disease affects them. Children who live with cancer are some of the most resilient people you will ever meet in your life. However, certain parts of their development are still influenced.
Isolation – Older kids and teenagers may withdraw and feel isolated because of hospitalization and not spending as much time with their friends. Younger kids tend to be less influenced by this and will still keep playing with other kids in the hospital. Older kids may feel more isolated and even withdraw further because of this. What often helps older kids with their social development, is meeting other kids that are the same age and going through the same or similar experience.
Depression – Kids and teenagers of all ages may experience some level of depression. The treatments, their diagnosis, the isolation, and their fears can all contribute to depression and anxiety. Parents should be aware of this possibility and ensure that their child feels loved and that he or she can talk to them about those fears and anxieties.
School – When children with cancer have to be hospitalized or receive treatments that take them out of school for long periods, their cognitive development may fall behind. It is important for parents to make sure that they find ways to fill the gaps and ensure that their children stay on track and develop their cognitive skills as they should. Home schooling and other teaching resources will help with that. Therapists at the hospital will probably have contacts and ideas for helping parents overcome this problem.
Rebellion – Sometimes kids with cancer act out because of the frustration, fear and anger they experience. A child with cancer has a different way of seeing the world and his or her world changes immediately when a cancer diagnosis is made. For a child who lived a normal and active life for years before the diagnosis, the acceptance of this can be difficult. Rebellion in kids and teenagers that are trying to deal with their disease and come to terms with what it means, are common.
Socialization – Socialization is part of growing up and it is necessary for children to develop social skills and learn how to interact with others. It can easily happen that a child with cancer does not have enough opportunities to socialize. It is important that parents try and ensure that their children get time to spend with other children their age. It often happens that treatment centers in hospitals have programs where the children can play and be kids. It is a good idea to encourage your child to take part in these activities.
Cancer is never an easy thing and in some ways, it may even be harder for children than adults. For more information on development and other related issues, please visit the RESOURCES page on this website.
A healthy lifestyle is important for the whole family. This becomes even more important when you have a child with cancer. A healthy lifestyle with fresh fruits and vegetables and exercise have often been prescribed as part of treatment. A healthy lifestyle makes it easier for your body to stay healthy or to heal and get better when you’re sick. If your child has cancer, a healthy lifestyle can very possibly contribute to a longer life and give them more energy to enjoy life.
Lead by example – Children will copy your habits because they see your behavior as good and acceptable. So, lead by example. Make sure that you follow a healthy lifestyle that includes all the next points.
Eat healthier – Make good food choices that include a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, reduced fat dairy products, and whole grains. Snacks are good but should not be cake and potato chips. Instead, try whole grain crackers and fresh fruits.
Drink lots of water – Substitute soft drinks and other sugary beverages with water. Water is healthy and the best way to stay hydrated. Other drinks contain too much sugar and can sometimes make you even thirstier. Water is always available and it has no added sugar.
Be active – This can be a family activity. Everyone in your family should get at least an hour of exercise everyday. This can consist of going for a walk or a jog, swimming, playing games outside, playing with the dogs, etc. There are many inexpensive ways to keep your family active and fit.
Be positive – This is always important but especially so when you have a child with a terminal illness. Positivity can conquer many things and it makes your family mentally strong. Positivity is the best defence when it comes to dealing with difficult situations, waiting for results, etc.
Limit screen time – Electronics are part of our lives and denying your children these devices is almost impossible. However, you can limit the time spent on the Internet, playing video games, watching television, etc. Make a rule and stick to it. This way your children will get what they want and also get to do what is healthy for them.
Spend time together – A family that spends time together is strong. You can do arts and crafts, play games, or even just eat dinner together. This will make your family feel safe and connected. This is very important for children living with cancer because they can easily feel and become isolated. Being part of something and feeling like a normal kid will do wonders. You can also incorporate art therapy and other therapeutic activities as prescribed by the doctor.
A healthy lifestyle is not just something doctors and healthcare professionals try to sell. It can legitimately improve your quality of life and also make you live longer. This doesn’t mean that you are never allowed to eat a piece of cake or fries again. It simply means that you and your family should keep moderation in mind and have healthier habits.
Treatment options for cancer in children have advanced in recent years. Research and the search for a cure for cancer is still happening across the world, but no one cure has been found. Cancer in children are less common than in adults and this means that studies and research are limited when it comes to cancer in children. Research based on adult cancer can only help to a certain extent as cancer in children and adults are two different things with different causes.
Treatments are generally combined to create better odds for positive results. Most of the treatments of cancer have serious side effects and can cause other health problems in future. Treatment options and combinations should be considered carefully and parents should ensure that they understand what the treatments will involve.
The main treatments used for cancer in children are:
Surgery is always risky, but when it comes to cancers that involve tumors, this is often the best options. Doctors do surgery to cut out the cancerous tumor and surrounding cells. They usually try to remove as much of the cell mass and the surrounding tissue to reduce the chances of it coming back. Surgery is sometimes not an option because of where the tumor is located and then doctors must try other options. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are also often combined with surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells surrounding the tumor area.
Chemotherapy is one of the most used treatments for cancer patients. It involves administering a combination of very strong drugs. These may be administered one by one or several at once. It is a controversial treatment that many people and doctors believe actually cause more harm than good. Because of this, make sure that you understand what chemotherapy is and ask your doctor to explain the process and the possible risks and side effects before allowing this therapy for your child. Chemotherapy has proven successful in many cases and less so in others. Research is still being done on better treatments.
Radiation therapy involves ‘zapping’ cancer cells or tumors with high-energy particles to destroy them. Radiation also has many different potential side effects just like chemotherapy. Radiation is often combined with other treatment options like surgery or chemotherapy. One of the main risks of this therapy is destroying healthy cells surrounding the bad cells.
This is one of the newer treatments that didn’t exist a few decades ago. It is also called biological therapy and involves the use of materials that are created by the patient’s body or in a lab. These materials are used to help the body heal its immune system or target specific areas. Examples of this therapy include interferons and cancer vaccines.
Transplants of bone marrow, cord blood, and stem cells are also used as treatment options. Most people know about bone marrow transplants for leukemia. However, thanks to medical research and advances in recent years, doctors can now also transplant stem cells. Stem cells are specialized cells that are placed in the body with the purpose to replace the bad cells and make it possible for good cells to grow again.
Cancer treatments all carry risks, but they also have the potential of having great results for your child. Approximately 60% of children with cancer go into remission and live for five years or longer than expected. Other programs like art therapy are also used to support these treatments.
Diagnosing health problems can prove to be difficult for doctors and therefore is delayed at times. One of the reasons for this is because some illnesses are too rare, if not too unrealistically unfamiliar, for diagnosticians to be able to detect them early on or even after several medical tests.
The age is also another factor why some diseases are more difficult to diagnose than most cases. As well, some diseases tend to be concealed by other illnesses that doctors find it hard to uncover and when they do, it can be on their later phase or stage.
Let us discuss more these difficulties in diagnosing health problems.
Why Some Diseases Are More Difficult to Diagnose Than Most Cases
Age and genetics. The age of the patient is a factor that affects the difficulty and even the accuracy of diagnosis of some illnesses. This has something to with genetics too.
For instance, it is more difficult for doctors to detect illnesses in infants as babies do not have fully developed physique and build yet. Their speech, movements and behavior are also yet limited and restrained. They cannot yet speak out about any discomfort they may be feeling which may already be a symptom. Their physical appearance or even internal organs can also hardly indicate symptoms yet.
Another reason why it is more difficult for doctors to detect illnesses in infants is because theirs can be genetic or hereditary which may remain dormant until they are grown. Therefore these diseases may be inherently unable to be identified and determined until they reach a certain age when the illnesses start to manifest.
Obtaining blood samples for the purpose of diagnosing health problems from infants are also at time skipped because the process can be unpleasant and painful for the babies.
Similarities of symptoms with other more common diseases. At times, some symptoms tend to be similar to those of other more commonly diagnosed diseases that some doctors fail to find the actual illness which the patient has early on.
There are some instances wherein symptoms are too familiar and identifying with another ailment that diagnosing health problems proves to be more difficult and takes longer than usual. These symptoms tend to hide or obscure the actual ailment which the patient is suffering from.
In other instances though, symptoms are too vague and unclear that it proves to be difficult to arrive at accurate diagnosis.
Seemingly strong and good health. An even seemingly healthy general state and conditions of a person can also be another reason why it is difficult to detect ailments in them. As they seem too healthy and fit, these persons hardly show any adverse signs or symptoms to proceed with diagnosing health problems.
Diagnosing Health Problems Related to Mental, Emotional, Psychological and Behavioral Disorders
Diagnosing health problems that have to do with the human psyche can be a puzzle to doctors. In many cases, patients tend to overlook symptoms of mental illnesses and therefore may be unaware of their erratic behavior and emotional state and conditions.
In addition, the difficulty in diagnosing health problems that have to do with the human psyche also lies in that these mental disorders hardly have any physical signs or evidences to prove and confirm their existence in some patients. Blood tests or urine examinations are even barely used to detect mental disorders.
While psychological and psychiatric tests may be helpful and useful, they are not always precisely conclusive.
Diagnosing Health Problems May Be Difficult but You Can Do Your Part in the Diagnosis
As a patient, you have to be proactive and participative in your discussions with your physicians. Be alert and assertive in speaking up and asking questions. You have to be a well-informed patient so that together with your physicians, you can arrive at accurate conclusions about the illness which you may have that is yet to be discovered.