Mom Wrote “What We Did When Mummy Got Cancer” To Help Other Families Cope

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One of the hardest things to do when diagnosed with cancer is tell your loved ones. It becomes even more difficult when parents have to reveal their diagnoses to young children. Katherine Simpson-Jacobs from Suffolk found this out firsthand when she was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in August 2013.

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Mother of two young girls aged four and six, Simpson-Jacobs found it extremely hard to break the news of her cancer to her daughters. This put additional pressure on her in an already stressful situation. Unable to break the news, she initially kept the news to herself and her husband. She feared the girls wouldn’t understand, and, more importantly, she did not want to scare them. Simpson-Jacobs made it a point to secretly attend her hospital appointments.

Unsure of how to break the news, she turned to nurses and advisers at the breast cancer information center. She was looking for any books or resources that could help her explain the situation to her daughters in a friendly and comprehensible manner. The unanimous recommendation was a book called “Mummy’s Lump.” Unfortunately for Simpson-Jacobs, it turned out to be of very little help, as it depicted women undergoing chemotherapy. She, on the other hand, was undergoing radiotherapy sessions.

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Simpson-Jacobs could not find any other books or resources that suited her situation. This predicament presented a great opportunity. She came up with the idea of writing a book specifically for children that would raise awareness and educate them about cancer. It was a great idea to help parents break the news of cancer diagnoses to their young children. The idea soon turned into reality, and the book “What We Did When Mummy Got Cancer” was published.


Many families struggle to break the news of a cancer diagnosis to the children in their family. Simpson-Jacobs’ book helps them overcome it and explain the diagnosis in a way that children can understand. Visit our post here for tips on how to talk to your kids about cancer.

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