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You may find it difficult to manage childcare during or after treatment. This could be because your treatment means you have extra hospital appointments or tests. You could also find the side effects of treatment may make it more difficult to manage childcare.
This may be upsetting and some people feel guilty. It can be difficult to ask for help and support. However, there are a number of people and organisations that can help support you.
Let family, friends and neighbours know if you’re struggling as they can be a good source of support. They may be able to help take care of your children when you have hospital appointments or help with day-to-day activities such as food shopping or housework.
Having this additional support can give you more time to relax with your children. If you don’t have family and friends living close by who can help with childcare, speak to a social worker at the hospital or contact the Family and Childcare Trust.
If you’re concerned, talk to the teachers or after-school care providers at your child’s school. They may be prepared to be flexible, provide additional support for your child and help at short notice.
Parents at the same nursery or school as your children, may also be willing to help.
You could speak to your employer, either your manager or Human Resources (HR) department, about flexible working. This could give you more flexibility with childcare and your breast cancer treatment.
Social services can provide support for you and your family. For example they can organise help with shopping, housework and applying for benefits.
You can ask your GP or treatment team to refer you, or contact them directly through your local council.
You may be able to get help towards childcare costs through certain benefits. Some of the benefits you may be able to claim:
The benefits you will be able to claim depend on your income and other factors. Visit Macmillan Cancer Support for more information. You can also visit the Childcare Choices website for more information on childcare and financial support.
Carer’s Trust is a charity that can provide support to families when a parent or carer has cancer by looking after children. They have centres across the UK.
The Fruitfly Collective supports children whose parents who have cancer. They have resources and special kits to help with difficult conversations and to help children understand what cancer is.
Home-Start is a charity that helps families with young children cope with challenges such as long-term illness in the family. They offer free support and practical help such as looking after children or giving you someone to talk to.
Macmillan Cancer Support offers free financial guidance and support to people with breast cancer. They also produce a booklet Help with the cost of cancer which includes information on the benefits available for carers, help with housing costs, children’s needs and transport. For more information, call 0808 808 00 00.
The Osborne Trust offers free emotional and practical support for children of a parent with a cancer diagnosis and undergoing cancer treatment.
Talk to your treatment team as there may be other organisations they can refer you to.
You can also speak to our nurses on 0808 800 6000 or share your concerns and experience through our online discussion Forum. Our Someone Like Me service can put you in touch with someone who has experience of the issues you’re facing.