Calgary researcher asks how parents cope with child's cancer

A nursing professor at the University of Calgary wants to know how couples cope after their child has cancer so she can help others in the same situation.

University of Calgary research to investigate childhood cancer impacts on parents' relationship

A Calgary researcher is looking at how parents' relationships are affected by having a child with cancer. 2:30

A nursing professor at the University of Calgary wants to know how couples cope after their child has cancer so she can help others in the same situation. 

Researcher Nancy Moules wants to know what happens to the parents' relationship after treatment ends — for whatever reason.

A nursing professor at the University of Calgary is looking into the effects of childhood cancer on parents. (CBC)

"I think that we can do a better job as health-care professionals, as family members [and] as communities in supporting the couple's relationship," she said.

Moules is looking for 15 couples whose child had treatment three to 10 years ago.

Allison Campbell is involved in the research project. Her daughter Maddie had brain cancer twice and died at age eight.

Campbell was in a new relationship and says the couple didn't deal with the first diagnosis well.

"I'm sure she felt the tension of the relationship problems with Peter and I," she said.

But they managed better the second time.

"We could just focus on her and her needs ... so it was a more peaceful situation for her and I think that she could sense that," she said.

Christine McIver, the founder of Kids Cancer Care — which is paying for the study, says the parents' roles are crucial.

"All the kids, the siblings as well, need to know that mom and dad are solid, that they're talking, that they're helping the sick kid but they are there for them too," she said.

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