How Teens Cope With Cancer: The Fault Is in Their Brains


The movie “The Fault In Our Stars” is a reminder that cancer does not care how old you are. Some 70,000 teenagers and young adults are diagnosed each year.

The film is based on a young adult novel dedicated to one of those cancer-stricken teens.

Cancer affects teens in other ways as well. “Parental Cancer and the Family,” published in the journal Cancer in 2010, estimates that nearly a million U.S. teens live with a parent who is a cancer survivor.

If you ask those parents how their teenage children responded, some might say, “They hardly seemed to notice.”

The fault isn’t in their stars. It’s in their teenage brains.

Teens are in the developmental stage when they create their own sense of self and separate from the family. The news that a parent has cancer is exactly what they don’t want to hear. That news pulls them back into…

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