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Readers Respond: How To Tell Friends and Family That You Have Cancer

Responses: 15

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Updated May 02, 2014

Telling friends and family that you have been diagnosed with cancer is not an easy task. Not only do you have to deal with the new emotions you are feeling, but you also have to cope with the reaction of the person you are telling. This can result in added stress, which can increase your own fears and anxiety. How did you tell your friends and family that you had cancer? What advice can you share with others?

I told everyone

I decided right from the start to be open and honest and tell everyone I had just been diagnosed with an early breast cancer. Telling my two adult sons was the hardest part, then telling my siblings. It was made easier by the fantastic support I received from my wonderful partner. He has stood by me throughout the surgery and follow-up radiotherapy. I am confident I have overcome the whole traumatic experience and feel very confident about my future. I was so lucky. It was small, caught in time, hadn't spread, and didn't require chemo or a mastectomy. I now almost resent it when friends ask, almost in a whisper, if I'm okay.
—Guest gloria meltzer

Pregnancy is possible after LEEP

I had to have a LEEP done last year after finding out I had grade II cervical dysplasia. Like everyone else I was super worried about not having anymore kids. My first is ten aleady, and my new bf was dying to be a daddy. Well after about a year of not getting pregnant, I started to worry that the LEEP had done something to me, but then I decided to make sure I was doing everything on my part to maximize my chances. I made sure my diet was supplying me with all my nutrients. Made sure my weight and physical activity levels were adequate, made sure not to drink, and started taking my mulivitamins and fish oil supplements to make sure I wasn't deficient in anything. And abra cadabra! I was pregnanct within a couple months. While yes, the amount of tissue removed will hugely impact the pregnancy outcome, we have to remember that our bodies are very fine tuned to what they need, and if we are going to support another life, we have to have a welcoming home for 9 mths!!!
—Guest Mari

how to tell friends and family that you

My sister was with me at urgent care when i was told that i had ovarian cancer stage 3c, then she went to doctor appointments with primary and surgent. as for co workers and friend I told them straight out this is what i have and this is what I'm doing. I had alot of advice and I listened to it. Everyone was supportive and did anything they could to help me. I have a new respect for the people i work with and my friends they are my friends.
—Guest lynne

reduces stress

I tell them one by one....those who wanted to listen I continue telling about my breast cancer but for those who don't want it, then I stop talking about it. You see, telling them about my plight is not an easy thing....but it gave me the relief. Well, I may say that there is an indirectly healing process.
—Guest ligaya

what happens when people are creul

to whom it may concern when i told my sister she was so hateful and mean she said to me you will lose maybe your breasts and maybe you will even lose you hair i cryesd and she laughed at me and still calls to poke fun of me and others have been nice about my cancer breat cancer but one other one said now dont get lopsided and she laughed a lot with her boy friend did to i found who my friends are for real now and i am sad sometimes but am going to fight this cancer no matter what and be strong about it as i am strong for this fight not to lose my life or my breast had a lump removed and next chem maybe abd radiation for sure sincerily from one who so surprissed how creaul some people are sincerily hope this helps some one becky
—Guest becky

Share, share, share

I'm a 3x cancer survivor. I can tell you from personal experience that the WORSE thing you can do is try to keep your emotions to yourself and to not want to bother your friends and family with your news, so you keep it to yourself. The BEST thing you can do is talk about it, let them know your fears and hopes. You'll be surprised as to the love and suppport you will get from them. Support helps you get through it - the worst thing you can do is try to get through it alone.
—Guest ayoung

telling my friends i have...

telling my friends that i had cancer is the hardest thing iv ever had to do.but i had to tell them that everything is going to be ok even if its not.they cried non stop and i was just holding them and i realized how much i appreciate them and how much ill miss them.i'm dying of leukeimia at the age 12.i have until may 30 2011. my friends mean the world to me and they are like my children and i would do anything for them.so guys if you are reading this i just want you to know that everything is gouing to be ok and i love you.
—Guest ana

Be straight, simple & say what you need

We used the CaringBridge site to share our news, explain things as they changed and express our feelings. It was an excellent and easy way to touch all the people we love and who wanted to know what was happening without bothering us with phone calls. We appreciated every type of support that came: prayers, food, visits, cards, flowers, notes...it all meant so much. But I think being open and honest and keeping everyone informed was good for all of us.We allowed people to do things for us and asked when we needed help. We decided early on that that is what family & friends are for and this was the time to realize exactly what that means.
—Spiritmover

getting ready to say good-bye

I HAD COLIN CANCER AND AN OPERATION,AND I SIMPLY TOLD THEM I WOULD BE GOING HOME SOON TO BE WITH JESUS.THEY NAVER ASKED ANYMORE,!
—Guest AUDREY

1MaryJo

I found it better tell only my children, sister & husband about the cancer. I told everyone I knew about the operation and asked that they pray for me. The few people (other then my imidiate family)that knew that cancer cells were found either expresed pity or acted like I had one foot in the grave. The last thing I needed was to give them my "tyroid cancer 101 class"& the pity made me wonder if they knew something that I felt I had researched well. Everyone is different and may need more help after surgery then I did you may have to do more explaining. They are making new discoveries in prevention and curing cancer. Get on the internet, educate yourself and DON'T GIVE UP!!
—1MaryJo

telling people about my breast cancer

I had breast cancer and a mastectomy in 1998. I had had seven operations prior to that, so I simply announced it as the latest of my many health problems. I was frightened, but not of telling my family and friends right away about my illness. There was no doubt in my mind that I would have a mastectomy, and I have never regretted it. I think many people were rather surprised that I took the diagnosis so relatively calmly. Some almost seemed to resent that calmness, and some people thought I should not have a mastectomy. Later on, I detailed the whole physical and emotional experience in a book: ANOTHER CHANCE AT LIFE: A BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR'S JOURNEY (Norilana Books, 2009). I hope the book will help some others confront their own fears and make their own decisions. Action following a diagnosis of cancer is very personal. I am so grateful that nowadays, vs. in the past, sharing our bad news usually brings us closer, rather than dividing us. But fear can do strange things.
—LeonoreDvorkin

How I told them I have cancer

I told my family the results of the colonoscopy but also told them, I would research on it and get a second opinion. Then, when it was confirmed, thru texts and emails, I told my friends. Lastly, I told my siblings.
—Guest Linus

selands55@yahoo.com

I one time I could not talk about what was happening, now people can't get me to be quiet. I found that talking helped the healing process.
—Guest selands55

Raymond

Accepting the disease and fighting it to the end is important. Advising your loved ones, although difficult for them to accept, is best just to tell it like it is. and ask them to fight the battle with you. We believe my struggle for the past 12 years can be won. I am 82 with cancer of the prostate, have had a double masectomy and recenlty, bladder. We shared all our grief after our daughter died of breat cancer 20 years ago.....You do receive a great deal of strength to fight the fight when next it happens. in a family.
—Guest Raymond

Be Straightforward.

Don't "sugar coat" it. I was honest and forthcoming with my diagnosis. I think my blunt attitude didn't allow people to feel sorry for me and treat me like I was a sick person. Having people treat me like normal was very important.
—Guest Clara

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