More Ask Lori and Liane
- PMS What is it and do you have it?
- Down There
- What is WRONG with me? I JUST CAN'T SLEEP!
- How do siblings stop fighting and start getting along?
- Bad Driving
- Splish Splash, time for a bath?
- The Truth about Marijuana
- Just Tired and Sad? Or is it Depression?
- An Awkward Topic
- Sister Squabbles
- Sweating and smelly, what's a girl to do?
- Boys on the Brain!
- Family Break-ups
- Understanding Cancer
- BROTHERS: why do some bully?
- Girl Talk - PERIODS
- Sisters - same genes, just not the same 'jeans'
- Sometimes I really DON'T LIKE my Mom!
- How Come I'm Not Allowed?
March 2008 Blogs
- Real Girl - Krista
- Understanding Cancer
- How is Your PURSE Like your Mind?
- SAPPHO: The Poetess of Greece
- Hey Big Spender
- Ask A Guy - best quality, 1 million dollars, daydreams, fave sport
- Facing Fears - a real life story
- Bored? What to do this March Break
- Going Shopping, it's all about the packaging!
- BFF Today... Dissed Tomorrow!
ASK LORI and LIANE, March 2008, by Lori Clemente and Liane Knoll-Kowk
Dear Lori and Liane,
I have heard about people getting cancer and that it’s a scary and an awful thing that can make you die. So now I can’t sleep because one of my (kind of) BFF’s Grandma just caught it and is in the hospital. What if she visits her Grandma and then she gets it and gives it to me? I’m scared to be near her and I don’t want my Mom to go visit my new baby cousin at the hospital in case someone there has cancer. What can I do?
~ Signed Shauna, 10, Halifax NS
Lori: You are not alone, Shauna. Many people I see in my practice are afraid of cancer. It’s a scary thing, even for adults. The good news is that you can’t catch it from other people like you can catch a cold or flu. So going to the hospital or being with people who have cancer will NEVER give you cancer. People develop cancer.
We all have many, many cells that make up the tissues and organs in our bodies. When cancer develops something goes wrong with certain cells so they don’t act like they are supposed to. They grow rapidly and invade healthy cells.
We don’t know exactly why this happens to some people and not others but we do know some things about cancer.
First of all cancer is not the leading cause of death in Canada and it is very rare in children. Less than 1% of new cases and deaths from cancer are in people less than 20 years old. There are many different types of cancer, some hardly harm us at all and are relatively easily treated.
Sometimes genetics (that means what is passed on to you from your parents, like the colour of your eyes), puts us at a higher risk for developing cancer. That doesn’t mean you’ll develop it, it just means there might be a higher chance. The good news is that there is lots you can do even now to lower your chance of ever developing cancer even if it’s in your family. Protecting yourself from the sun, eating lots of vegetables, fruit and fiber, exercising and being a nonsmoker are some great examples.
Seeing a doctor or nurse practitioner is also a good idea. They can help you do everything possible to lower those risks and keep you healthy down the road.
Remember, people living with cancer need lots of love and support. Don’t ever be afraid of giving them what they need.
Liane: Dear Shauna, cancer is a very scary word. When we think of cancer, we may think of people losing their hair or that someone with cancer is going to die.
Sometimes when something scary happens to someone we know (like cancer), we start to wonder if those things could happen to us. We let our fears get the best of us and before you know it, we’ve talked ourselves into something that keeps us up at night worrying. In my practice, when kids tell me they’re worried about things they can’t control, I tell them to take a deep breath, then I tell them to find someone they trust to discuss it with (you’ve just done that) and then I tell them about “realistic thinking”.
Realistic thinking involves examining our fear, (in this case catching cancer) and trying to rethink it in a way that’s more likely or real. Let’s look at the facts that Lori gave us about cancer.
a) Sometimes people do die from it, not always, and cancer can be very treatable as we are learning more and more about it every day.
b) Cancer is NOT contagious (you can’t catch it like a cold)
c) Most people who get cancer are not kids.
So ask yourself, “What is more likely, that I will be healthy, or I will get sick?” Healthy, of course!
This information might help you deal with your fear, but it’s always a good idea to talk your worries over with someone who cares about you (like your Mom or Dad). It’s normal to feel scared and this is a new experience for you. As time goes on, you’ll feel less worried and more informed.
If someone you know has cancer, ask questions and talk about your fears. There’s a great story on page 24 about a girl whose Mom had cancer. She was really scared and got through it.
Your friend probably has some of the same worries as you, plus she may be scared that she will lose her grandma. Talk to her about it. Don’t be worried that you will make things worse by saying the wrong thing. Maybe you two can develop a greater friendship by being open. If we keep all our pain and thoughts to ourselves, we can sometimes make our-selves feel worse and come up with things that aren’t even real.
Good for you for being brave enough to ask.