Games to Help Kids Fight (and Understand!) Cancer

Games to Help Kids Fight (and Understand!) Cancer

These cancer-focused games offer information in addition to fun and distraction.

Despite the fact that upwards of 80 percent of young cancer patients survive their conditions, it can seem like cancer takes away your life. The most common pediatric cancers are those of the blood, and treatment often requires months in the hospital, undergoing chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant. Even for cancers that are treated less aggressively, young patients are often forced to miss school, miss activities, and miss out on friendships.

Games can provide a little respite. Sure, some games are just fun – and there’s certainly use for online games that simply help cancer patients escape into a new world! Other games like Shadow’s Edge help kids escape into another world while also helping them explore the emotional side of recovery from illness. Other games help young patients take a look at cancer, itself. Here are some of our favorites, offering entertaining and/or enriching ways for pediatric cancer patients to learn more about their illness.

Fun, Cancer-Fighting Games

I, Hope

I, Hope is a beautiful coming of age adventure story about a young girl named Hope, whose town has been taken over by Cancer. By fighting cancer in the game, designers hope that players will feel empowered in their own fight against cancer. While there is no overt therapeutic benefit, the game is certainly fun and helps to create awareness for use of games as a way to empower cancer patients. The game is available for $9.99 on the Steam gaming platform, with proceeds going to the GameChanger charity. 

That Dragon Cancer

Does it feel good to destroy cancer? Sure it does! That Dragon, Cancer is a stress-relief tool for cancer patients, in which players visualize and destroy cancer on a computer screen. The autobiographical game is based on the experience of the game designers’ son, Joel, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer at twelve months old, and though only given a short time to live, survived for four more years before eventually succumbing to the cancer in March 2014. The game helps players experience the highs and lows of a cancer journey in the style of a point-and-click adventure game. This moving game (actually more of an “experience”) does a great job of visualizing the cancer journey. Keep a box of tissues handy, because it will bring you to tears. It is available on steam and payment is donation based. The game is available on multiple platforms ($4.99-9.99 or donation-based).


Like the previous two games, ReMission focuses on destroying cancer cells, this time in an arcade-style action format. In fact, ReMission is a collection of six short games that allow players to shoot their cancer. Research by the game studio, HopeLabs, suggests that the game may help kids express feelings of anger surrounding cancer. The game is available for free download or to play online at the ReMission site.

Cancer Educational Games

Cancer Quest is a site by Emory Winship Cancer Institute that offers kid-focused cancer information, media, community, and games. Most of the following allow users to play online via Adobe Flash.

Get it Together: How long will it take you to assemble this timed skin cancer jigsaw puzzle?

The Grid: A competitive, Jeopardy-style multiplayer quiz game with a general version about cancer treatment and also a quiz specifically for cervical cancer.

Save the Surfer: Skin-cancer specific game in which users answer questions to save a surfer from the damaging rays of the sun.

Burn Out: A quiz game focused on lung cancer.

Do you have other favorite cancer games? We would love to hear from you! Help us add to this list of playable resources for young people fighting cancer!