The Kids Aren’t Alright – Supporting children when a parent has cancer

Professor Kate White

Sydney Nursing School Chair of Cancer Nursing, University of Sydney

Co-presented with Sydney Nursing School


24 September, 2014

Cancer is life changing. A diagnosis of cancer can bring a range of emotions, new priorities and challenges, and the need to navigate complex treatments.

Critical for all involved in cancer care is the recognition that cancer does not occur in a vacuum - it has a major impact on family, friends and colleagues. When a parent has cancer, the whole family experiences cancer.

For a parent, there are many questions to answer. How much, and what to tell the children is a frequent concern. Do young children need different information to teenagers? What do we know about how children really feel regarding a cancer experience in the family? What is their understanding of the disease?

Managing day-to-day family life, one’s own emotional journey, as well as the needs of our children can be an enormous task. How can families, schools and health professionals help to support these needs?

Professor White will discuss the important role of healthcare professionals in recognising children’s support needs, and the integral role of family in building resilience for the child and the whole family.

Using her decades of experience as a cancer nurse and research conducted in partnership with CANTEEN, Professor White will address the key questions above and highlight the needs of children and families whose lives are affected by this difficult disease.

Professor Kate White

Professor Kate White Kate White is Professor of Nursing at Sydney Nursing School. She holds NSW’s first academic Chair in Cancer Nursing, established by the Cancer Institute of NSW and University of Sydney. As a cancer and palliative care nurse, Professor White has a long history of helping cancer patients and their families, particularly with optimising access to support.

Alongside her clinical experience, Professor White is a cancer and palliative care researcher. She completed a PhD at the University of Sydney and was appointed Associate Professor of Nursing and later, Head of School at Edith Cowan University, WA. She is the recipient of a number of awards and fellowships, including the prestigious Churchill Fellowship awarded in 2011 for travel to the UK’s Royal Marsden Hospital and Kings College London.