- Cancer Information
- Coping with a diagnosis
- Emotions and cancer
- The others in your life
- How to tell family and friends
How to tell family and friends
When you feel ready, decide who to tell and what to say. To prepare for these conversations, you could:
- choose a quiet time and place, if possible
- think of answers to likely questions (but only answer if you want to – you don’t have to share every detail)
- accept that the person you are telling may get upset – you may find yourself comforting them, even though you are the one with cancer
- get help finding the right words – for example, you could meet with the hospital social worker or call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to talk through what you might say.
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.