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TELLING PEOPLE ABOUT CANCER – WHERE DO YOU START?
How do I tell my children?

Young children will react based on how adults are reacting. How and what you tell them about your breast cancer will depend on their age and how much they can understand. Even very young children will sense when something is seriously wrong and may become frightened and confused
It is best to be honest with them as early as possible.

There are people who can help children cope with the emotions they may be feeling and the changes happening in your family. You can ask your doctor or your child’s school for outside help to make sure your children are getting everything they need.

 

There are many resources available online and through cancer support groups to help you hold this conversation, with examples of the words to use. Try out something that works for you. 

You can direct older children to appropriate websites where they can find out more about MBC; be aware that they are likely to look for information themselves, which could be unreliable and inaccurate.

How do I tell my parents?

No matter how old you may be, you are still your parents’ child. As your parents, they have a natural instinct to protect you. It can be difficult to tell your parents you have metastatic breast cancer (MBC) if you feel they will not be able to cope with your diagnosis. 

No one wants to cause their parents pain and suffering, especially if they are older. 

Enlisting support from siblings or close friends can also be helpful in breaking the news to your parents.

How do I talk to my friends?

How you talk to people in your life about what you are going through is completely up to you. Finding the right time to tell all the other people in your life is important. 
It’s okay if you want to wait until you have made sense of your diagnosis before you tell your wider circle of friends and relatives. 

You may find that your relationships with your friends change after you have been diagnosed. Some relationships become even stronger, but it is likely that others will not. 
Not everyone can handle cancer, and some friends may be unable to cope with their own feelings and pain. Without meaning to, some friends may say something or treat you in a way that is insensitive or does not help you.

It may be best for you to avoid any unnecessary stress that overly negative relationships can add to your life as you try to cope with cancer
Try instead to focus on the positive support that you are receiving from those who care about you.

Thinking ahead of time about how you wish to tell your friends may help you express your feelings more clearly. Try to be honest about how you are feeling and what you need. Doing so can help put your friends at ease and better understand how they can help you.

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