Children's Cancer Foundation

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Clinical Psychological Service

1. My son has received total body irradiation and brain irradiation, will that affect his intelligence and memory? What can I do?

Previous research suggests that total body irradiation and brain irradiation can affect children’s intelligence as well as other cognitive abilities.  Our clinical psychologist is able to assess the patient and to monitor his cognitive development.  Follow up sessions will be offered if any impairment has been identified.

2. I have been very depressed since my son was diagnosed with cancer. I cry a lot and cannot sleep at night as I keep thinking about my son’s condition. I think I am going crazy. Can someone help?

If your mood keeps deteriorating and you cannot get your mind off such worries, you may need help from family counsellors and/or a psychologist.  You may need to engage in psychotherapy to alleviate your distress.

3. I keep having flashbacks of my son’s painful look during treatment. Although my son’s condition has been stabilised and he is about to complete all treatment, I still suffer from frequent nightmares as if I am reliving the painful memory again and again. What is happening to me?

Flashbacks and frequent nightmares are part of the symptoms seen in post traumatic stress disorder.  You may need help from a clinical psychologist for further assessment and treatment.

4. My son has been in remission for more than half a year. He is now back to school but his academic performance has plummeted compared with the time before he fell ill. He has little motivation in studying. I wonder if these are late effects caused by cancer?

It is quite common for patients to have adjustment problems when they start school again.  Parents can seek help from a psychologist who can provide cognitive and emotional assessment for the children as well as suitable follow-up services.