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Simple talk program

Support for children who have an adult in their lives diagnosed with cancer

The Simple Talk program is dedicated to meeting the needs of families when a parent or grandparent is diagnosed with cancer.

This program is based on the book Simple Talk for Tough Times by Marsha Carlson. She writes, “The diagnosis acts like an “elephant in the room.” It is something big that everyone is aware of but no one wants to talk about.” The Simple Talk program guides adults in the conversations they have with children about a cancer diagnosis.

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What it is

The Simple Talk Program provides resources and guidance around communicating with children about your cancer diagnosis and offers ways to support them throughout the process.

Trained oncology social workers will work with you to meet your family’s individual needs. This may include:

  • in-person sessions with you and your family members
  • books, journals and other written resources to take home  
  • referrals to community programs and other online resources
  • Angel backpacks, provided by the Angel Foundation and filled with activities and items for each individual child

Simple Talk-sponsored special events

Good to know

The Simple Talk Program is offered by licensed oncology social workers. They have a master's level education and are board-certified.

You may be referred by your care coordinator, doctor or any member of your care team. You can also self-refer at any time if you need this support during your cancer diagnosis and treatment. The Simple Talk program offers services free of charge.  

What to expect

Simple Talk sessions are available by phone or in person. They may be a one-time session or more, based on your family’s needs.

The Simple Talk Program is based on the book, Simple Talk for Tough Times. This book offers age-appropriate ideas for what to say, what to do and what to observe when talking with children about cancer.

It’s available for you and your loved ones for free:

Download the complete book

Related links

Source: Allina Health Cancer Care
Reviewed by: Allina Health Cancer Care

First published: 5/31/2019
Last reviewed: 5/31/2019