The others in your life
It can be difficult to tell people you have cancer. You may feel uncomfortable talking about personal matters, or unsure how family and friends will react. Although you might want to protect the people you care about, sharing the news can often bring you closer together.
It’s up to you how much detail to share and when to share it, but hiding your diagnosis probably won’t work. Sooner or later, family, friends and colleagues will find out that you have cancer, either by hearing about it from others or through changes in your appearance. Telling people can help prevent misunderstandings, put you in control of what information is given out, and allow people to offer support.
At times it may feel like nobody understands what you’re going through. Try not to shut others out − you may find that talking about cancer is not as difficult as you had first thought.
Learn more about:
- How to tell family and friends
- Other people’s reactions
- Ways to share how you’re feeling
- Telling children
Dr Anna Hughes, Liaison Psychiatrist and Psycho-oncologist, Canberra Region Cancer Centre, Canberra Hospital, ACT; Mary Bairstow, Senior Social Worker, Cancer Centre, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; Anita Bamert, Psychologist, Cancer Council Queensland, QLD; Kate Barber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria, VIC; Sally Carveth, Assistant Coordinator, Cancer Support Leader Program, Cancer Council NSW; Matt Featherstone, Consumer; Dr Charlotte Tottman, Clinical Psychologist, Allied Consultant Psychologists and Flinders University, SA; Shirley Witko, Senior Social Worker, Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA.
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