Games and Pediatric Cancer

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Many studies have been done regarding the tie between games and chronic illnesses.  Local pediatric oncologist Dr. Jason Canner says he sees how games help children with cancer first hand at Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital.  He says his team uses games to treat cancer patients as part of their comprehensive care.

Canner also uses games as part of the non-profit organization he co-founded, The Cure It Foundation.  Canner says that for children, games can be just as important as medical treatment.

“We try to surround both the child, siblings, and the family with techniques, skills, therapies and interventions that allow them to cope with their illness,” he say. “The multidisciplinary team including child life psychologist and social workers can interact with these kids in the hospital through games and communicate and build relationships with them.”

Once these relationships are built, a team of professionals can use the games to educate children about their disease and help them with psychological issues.  Canner believes that games help children recover faster and decrease the amount of time spent in the hospital when they’re used as part of recovery.

“People with cancer or chronic illness, especially kids, need things they can relate to, not that they are taught or forced to do,” he says. “They need things that make them feel comfortable and in this day and age, when we have so many things coming at our kids so young, the one thing you can talk to your parents and friends that crosses all generation is games.”

Games proven to help include educational board games, video games, and arts and crafts.

For more information on games can help children with chronic illnesses, check out these links:

How video games can help.

Example of a helpful board game.

Study on games and pediatric cancer.


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