Assistance to parents who have lost their child with cancer

Carlo Alfredo Clerici, Andrea Ferrari, Maura Massimino, Roberto Luksch, Graziella Cefalo, Monica Terenzlani, Michela Casanova, Filippo Spreafico, Daniela Polastri, Cristina Meazza, Marta Podda, Franca Fossati-Bellani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims and background: To assess the psychological needs of parents after the death of their child from cancer. Methods: The study comprises a preliminary retrospective phase to identify parents who spontaneously contacted the medical staff, followed by a prospective phase in which families were contacted by telephone and were invited to a meeting. Results: The retrospective study demonstrated that more than 50% of the families spontaneously sought contact with the department. In the prospective study, 17 families were contacted and the majority of them subsequently decided to come to the department for a talk. Conclusions: Our experience shows that parents have a strong need to have further contact with the team that took care of their children for months. In the process of coping with bereavement, anxiety and depression are common and not necessarily pathological, though there may be psychopathological reactions that can interfere with the parents' quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-310
Number of pages5
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006


  • Childhood cancer
  • Dead children
  • Families
  • Psychosocial support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research

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