PUBLISHED ON: 6 February 2013

For working parents half term means thinking ahead about childcare. But a diagnosis of breast cancer doesn’t usually leave a lot of time for forward planning.

Breast cancer its treatment and side effects can disrupt normal family routines for months. We know from talking to people calling our Helpline that from the moment you're diagnosed the shock and emotion as well as the frequent visits to the hospital for tests and appointments may mean you’re unable to care for the children as you usually would; many need practical and financial help.

So where do you turn for help?

Trying to juggle treatment and caring for the family is often a topic of discussion on our website forums where there's a community of people affected by breast cancer sharing their experiences and hopes.

Family friends neighbours and parents at the same nursery or school as your children can be a great source of support. It’s not always easy asking for help and some find it so hard they are put off involving others. But most people are happy to be asked and may have been waiting to offer you help but worried about how to approach the topic.

If you can let people you know and trust care for your children for a time during the day do the school run or have them home for tea after school it can take pressure off you. This can give you more rest making the time you are able to spend with your children more enjoyable.

Even with lots of support coping with family life can be difficult. It can be even trickier if you haven’t got a suitable network of people around you to help. There are a number of organisations offering information advice and financial assistance if you are looking for help with childcare. Your breast care nurse health visitor social worker at the hospital where you are being treated or cancer information centre staff should know of local support offered through voluntary schemes organisations and charities.

Your local Family Information Service holds information on childcare options in your area including possible financial help.

And Macmillan Cancer Support publishes detailed information on its website.