We present and comment on several short texts written in a writing workshop by children and adolescents treated for cancer. In addition to the obvious themes, the patients communicate the intense elements of the experience they are going through, including fear of injections, fear of not being cured, revolt, hope and a feeling of unreality, and raise the question “Why?”. They are proud to express their feelings, thoughts and creativity, and relieved to be able show that they remain themselves. This can help them maintain or regain confidence in themselves and in the ability of their parents and medical staff to understand them. We consider their pleasure, their parents’ and caregivers’ reactions and the quality of their work as it relates to their age, academic level, cultural environment and cognitive capacities. These examples may help to inform physicians and nurses about how they perceive patients (children or adults) and their needs and abilities, and thereby improve the quality of the relationship.
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Funding:This workshop, part of the project “To live while being different”, is supported by the Roche Foundation.
Competing interests: None.
Patient consent was obtained for publication of the quotations in this report.