If I had a dollar for everytime I’ve read a non childhood cancer patient or family member tell someone who IS effected by childhood cancer, to try some “miracle” cure, I’d have enough money to actually cure childhood cancer! Or I’d at least have more than the government gives (seriously, it’s not a lot).
Things I’ve read or heard people telling families to use that will CURE their child
- Smoke Marijuana
- Drink Baking Soda
- Drinking breast milk
- Think Positive (seriously…)
- “Just rub essential oils on the tumor spot”
NO. STOP IT. STOP telling parents and families remedies that they need to try. These families have done more research than slept, they’ve looked into EVERY remedy possible for their child and they would move MOUNTAINS if they could save their child. Telling a grieving family to try X,Y and Z isn’t being helpful. It’s HURTFUL. And it could take a family who is already in a very vulnerable state and put them in a dangerous state.
As a pediatric oncology nurse, I’ve seen first hand what this does to families. It hurts them. It belittles them. It makes them question their parenting. A few weeks ago, I (regrettably) read a post that a family member of a friend wrote on a private forum (but was later screen shotted to the family). The baby is fighting for his life… his extended “family?” They’re worried about the pea size piece of frosting that was on his face while celebrating his birthday. “Why would you give him sugar if he has cancer… sugar causes cancer and he’s already so sick! I was wondering about them…” The mom was crushed… and rightfully so. Who are any of you to tell a mother of a sick child what they can and cannot eat? I literally want to jump through the screen every time I read a post of someone telling a mother or father that sugar causes cancer and basically that they’re terrible parents.
Can I just scream this really really loud real quick? SUGAR DOES NOT CAUSE CHILDHOOD CANCER. CHILDHOOD CANCER CAUSES ARE… WAIT FOR IT… UNKNOWN. Childhood cancer doesn’t discriminate against any ethnic group, socioeconomic class or geographic region. It doesn’t matter if your child drank apple juice for 8 months straight or organic water straight from the waterfall. I don’t think any parent would CHOOSE to give their child chemotherapy and/or radiation if there was proof of a more non-toxic treatment providing better results.
So please. Next time you think about telling a family something they should do to “cure” or “prevent” childhood cancer… please think twice. Whether your intentions are wonderful or spiteful… it doesn’t help. It hurts. These families I have the pleasure of working with everyday? They’re the strongest people I know. They pull strength from places they didn’t even know existed. They need love and support… not criticism. Next time you see a beautiful bald headed child eating a donut… just smile. It could be the first bite they’ve taken of food in weeks. We celebrate that.
So next time you’re wondering what you can do to help? Advocate for the government to give more than 4% of all research funding to childhood cancer and give back to foundations that provide their own research. Put more effort into researching and fundraising versus googling a “cure” that truly doesn’t exist. That DOES help.