Katie Couric's Advice on Helping Children Cope With a Parent's Cancer Diagnosis
Discussing a parent’s cancer diagnosis with children can be difficult and the conversation changes as they get older. Here’s how the broadcast journalist broached the delicate situation through her own experience.
BY Katie Couric
PUBLISHED June 27, 2019
Katie Couric’s daughters were only 1 and 5 years old when their father, Jay, received a diagnosis of colorectal cancer, a situation that can be difficult for all parents facing a cancer diagnosis.
The legendary broadcast journalist sat down with CURE® to discuss how she broached the delicate situation at the time, and how the conversation has changed now that her husband has passed and her daughters are older.
Couric told CURE® she learned that being honest with her children, even at a young age, was important and that a parent who has received a diagnosis of cancer should not make promises that everything is going to be OK.
“I remember (my daughter) asking me ‘Is Daddy going to be OK?’ and I said, ‘Gee, honey, I really hope so. The doctors and nurses are trying so hard to help him and he is trying so hard to get better,’” Couric recalls. “I just did not want to raise expectations that he was going to get through this when the prognosis was so bleak at the time he was diagnosed.”
Taking cues from your kids is also important, said Couric, as well as getting professional help, talking to them and keeping their dad’s memory alive since he has passed away.
Now that Couric’s daughters are 27 and 23, she says they do worry about cancer since they saw both their dad and aunt die from it; however, Couric will be sure they get the proper screening, given their family history.