It’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and we’re shining a spotlight on all of the different teams that help make a difference to our youngest cancer patients.

Dr Sara Latif is one of our Clinical Psychologists and works in our paediatric psychology service. She shares the importance of Cancer Awareness month, and how it’s a great privilege it is that families trust her enough to share their feelings so she can help them throughout their child’s cancer journey.

Discover how our paediatric psychology team help our youngest patients throughout their cancer treatment journey.

Tell me about your team and what you do to help children with cancer?

I am part of the Paediatric Psychology Team and we support children and their families with the psychological impact of physical health conditions.  Part of my work is to support oncology children and their families.  I see children at different stages of their cancer journey.  Support at the beginning of treatment tends to be focused on adjustment to the diagnosis and treatment and managing the ups and downs of the hospital admission.  As treatment progresses, different issues arise and coping strategies for ongoing treatment, scans, school and life in general become more of a focus of therapeutic discussions.  Psychological work enables people to explore some of the challenges they face and how their understandable fears and anxieties can interfere with their daily life.  The aim is that by embarking on the therapeutic process, children will be able to progress through treatment and thrive in spite of their health condition and treatment.

Why is children’s cancer awareness month important to you and your team?

I think that stories are powerful and hearing oncology stories helps children and families get through the toughest of times.  By talking about cancer openly in society, it will promote understanding and enable children to feel more supported in their local community.  Many families have the experience of being offered a lot of support in the beginning from family and friends, but often they need it as their energy levels are waning during the treatment process.

What do you enjoy most about working within our children’s cancer team?

I am lucky enough to enjoy many aspects of my work.  I consider it a great privilege that families trust me enough to share their feelings.  The strength of the human spirit is so visible in my work, and I am inspired daily by children, families and my colleagues persevering in the face of challenges.  Without a doubt the best part of the work is to see children successfully treated, living and enjoying their lives.