Coping when your child has cancer

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When to call the doctor

Parents should call the doctor whenever they are worried or the child seems sick.

Report the following issues to the doctor or healthcare team right away:

  • fever – your healthcare team will tell you more about temperatures, what temperature is a fever and how to take your child’s temperature, such as in the armpit, ear or mouth
  • signs of infection such as chills, earache, cough, cold, flu or sore throat
  • severe nausea or vomiting
  • increased fatigue
  • change in behaviour or level of consciousness
  • break in the central venous catheter
  • bleeding, increased bruising or petechiae (tiny, flat, red spots caused by bleeding just under the surface of the skin)
  • changes in bowel habits, such as constipation longer than 2 days, severe diarrhea or painful bowel movements
  • change in bladder habits, such as painful or frequent urination, blood in the urine or decreased urine or no urine for 6–8 hours
  • change in eating habits, such as a large decrease in liquids being drunk, inability to drink or eat or difficulty or pain when eating, drinking or swallowing
  • rash or itching
  • severe headache or blurred vision
  • exposure to chicken pox, shingles or measles
  • pain or swelling where the chemotherapy gets injected
  • any severe pain that cannot be explained

central venous catheter

A catheter (flexible tube) that is passed through a vein in the neck, groin or chest into the vena cava (the large vein leading into the heart).

A central venous catheter may be used to give continuous infusion of fluids, deliver drugs or collect blood samples. It may also be used to measure the pressure of the blood returning to the heart (central venous pressure or CVP) and how much blood the heart is pumping.

Also called central line, central venous line or central venous access catheter.

Stories

Now I know that I will help someone with cancer even after I’m gone. It’s a footprint I want to leave behind me.

Read Barbara's story

Taking action against all cancers

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The latest Canadian Cancer Statistics report found that of all newly diagnosed cancers in 2017, half are expected to be lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers. Learn what you can do to reduce the burden of cancer.

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