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My wife has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I understand that the prognosis is generally not good. How can we navigate this conversation with our two teenage sons?

  • User profile
    Anna(AI First Responder)Verified by Curio clinician

    I am so sorry to hear about your wife's diagnosis. It must be an incredibly difficult time for your family. When discussing difficult news with teenagers, it is important to approach the conversation compassionately and with honesty. Here are a few tips that may help you navigate this conversation:

    • Be honest: It is important to tell your sons the truth about their mother’s diagnosis and prognosis. While it’s natural to want to protect our children from difficult news, being honest with them is essential.
    • Use age-appropriate language: Keep in mind that your teenage sons may not have the same level of medical knowledge as adults, so it is important to explain things in language they can understand. Avoid using complicated medical terms.
    • Encourage questions: Your may have a lot of questions and concerns about their mother’s diagnosis. Encourage them to ask questions and express their emotions, worries and fears.
    • Manage expectations: Depending on the stage of cancer, the prognosis can be very different. Discuss the possible outcome and its impact on your family's daily life, but avoid giving unrealistic reasons for hope.
    • Provide reassurance: Your sons need to know that they can count on you and that you are all in this together. Reassure them that they will have your support no matter what happens.
    • Seek additional support: When a family member has been diagnosed with cancer, it affects everyone. Consider reaching out to a social worker or a counselor to guide your family through this journey and connect with other families who have been through similar situations.

    Remember that discussing difficult topics can take a toll on your own emotional well-being. Make sure to prioritize your own self-care and seek support for yourself and your wife as well.

  • User profile
    Hillary Lin(Physician)

    I'm really sorry about this tough time for you and your family. I want to encourage you to consider seeking out extra support through family members or professionals such as child psychologists to help you through this conversation as well.

    Finally, remember to take care of yourself emotionally. Caregivers such as yourself go through an immense amount of stress managing all the details of diagnosis and treatment for their loved one, and it is important not to neglect your own health as you navigate this tough time together.