Journal of Professional Nursing

Supporting the Siblings of Children with Cancer 

Barbara Doyle, RGN, RSCN, BSc(Hons), Onc.Cert., Staff Nurse, Princess Mary Hospital, Auckland 

Reference:  Doyle, B. (1989). Supporting the Siblings of Children with Cancer. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 4(3), 11-13.


The diagnosis of cancer in a child can have a devastating effect on a family, but with improved treatment methods we are now able to cure many children.  However the treatment can extend over a long period.  As health professionals working with these families, a great deal of time is spent with the sick child and his or her parents.  However, healthy siblings must not b forgotten.  They are likely to live longer and have memories and concerns related to the child with cancer.  The psychological effects on the healthy siblings, including anxiety, rejection, isolation, jealousy, guilt and resentment have been well documented. Continued… 

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