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 your partner, family or friends will react. Although you might want to protect the people you care about, sharing the news can often bring you closer together.
Learn more about:
- How to tell family and friends
- Other people’s reactions
- Ways to share how you’re feeling
- Telling children
It’s up to you how much detail to share, when to share it and who to share it with, but hiding your diagnosis may be hard work. Sooner or later, family, friends and colleagues will often find out that you have cancer. They may hear about it from others or notice changes in your appearance. Letting people know about the diagnosis in your own way has several advantages. It can help prevent misunderstandings, puts you in control of what information is given out and when, and allows 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.
Podcast: Family Dynamics and Cancer
A/Prof Anne Burke, Co-Director, Psychology and Allied Health Lead, Cancer, Central Adelaide Local Health Network and The University of Adelaide, SA; Hannah Chen, Psychologist, Cancer Council Queensland; Hazel Everett, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Cancer Services, St John of God Subiaco Hospital, WA; Shona Gates, Senior Social Worker, North West Cancer Centre, TAS; Dr Jemma Gilchrist, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Mind My Health and Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre, Westmead, NSW; Sandra Hodge, Consumer; Dr Michael Murphy, Psychiatrist and Clinician Researcher, Prince of Wales Hospital, NSW; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Dr Alesha Thai, Medical Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Alan White, Consumer.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.