Skip directly to content
Сancer and your relationships

How you talk to people about your cancer diagnosis and what you are going through is completely up to you. Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) affects the whole family – a husband, partner, children or relations – not just the person who has it. 
It changes family roles and disrupts routines. Before you talk to anyone, think through your own feelings, your reasons for telling them, and what you expect of them. Know that people will react differently to upsetting news

In general, it is better to be open and honest about your cancer – keeping secrets can take up a lot of energy and create more stress for you.



How can I tell people about my cancer?

Everyone may cope with the news of your cancer differently. You will find that some people will need a lot of time to come to terms with your illness
Others will try to be more stoic and strong for you. You may find that some friends struggle to know what the right thing to say is, and how best to comfort you. 

Knowing how to deal with your friend’s and family’s reactions can be tough, especially if they aren’t coping well. Here are some ideas on how you can help people come to terms with your cancer: 

Tell people how you feel – Often people just do not know what to say or how to behave around you. While it may seem unfair, you may need to raise the issue and tell them how you are feeling and what you need from them. 

Ask for help – Tell them how they can help you. For example, if you want them to come to your doctor’s appointments and treatment sessions, or if you just need a hug and someone to listen to you. 

Offer information and support – Your family and friends may need support of their own, so remind them that there are services – like support groups – available to help them too. They may not understand about breast cancer stages, treatments or symptoms.

Key points to consider about talking to others

  • You do not need to tell everyone right away – take your time
  • Keeping it a secret or trying to protect other people is natural, but it can drain your energy
  • Be honestchildren and adults will respond best to honesty, but be prepared for a variety of reactions, or even no reaction at all
  • There are resources available to support your children and help you with daily life so you can keep things as ‘normal’ as possible