• How/When did you tell your family about your cancer?

    Asked by vbright on Wednesday, March 20, 2013

    How/When did you tell your family about your cancer?

    I was just recently diagnosed, and still have not told my kids. Did you (and when/how) you tell your kids about your cancer? (Oh, my kids are grown)

    13 Answers from the Community

    13 answers
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      I took a very straight forward approach. I spoke to each person directly and told them the news. Tell you family as soon as possible. My DD was in Florance when I found out about my stage 1 TNBC n Sept 2010, and did not tell her about it until I had a plan in place. She was not happy that I waited 2 months to tell her. I was diagnosed with Metastasized breast cancer the week before she graduated college. I told her that day and she accompanied me to my first treatment 3 days after graduation last May.

      over 4 years ago
    • SpunkyS's Avatar

      My sister held off telling her kids (adults) until she had the diagnosis and treatment plans in place. But that was based on knowing how they would react and what was going on in their lives at the time.

      Within days of diagnosis I told my siblings by phone since we are spread about the country. I kept them updated by email or phone as treatment plans progressed. They were great about respecting my needs over their "wanting to know".

      over 4 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      This was very difficult for me. When I was diagnosed, it was a few months before my Daughters 8th birthday. We read books, spoke with counselors. It was tough but we decided that we needed to be honest with her. We waited until we knew exactly what I had and exactly what the treatments were going to be. You need to be able to answer questions. Bottom line, you have to be honest and open about it and I can tell you from experience, it's going to be one of the hardest things you'll do. Good luck to you.

      over 4 years ago
    • JanetteC's Avatar

      My children are 24, 22 and 20 years old. I told them all within hours of receiving the diagnosis. My daughters were upset but spoke at great lengths with me about my illness but my Son point blank refused to discuss it. He completely shut out my illness and our relationship has been strained as he's not been in touch with me as much as I would have liked but I respected his feelings and never brought up the subject. My parents were shocked but our relationship has strengthened so much. I've also had family members I'd not seen in 20 years get in touch with me and I now visit them and have enjoyed having my mind taken off everything cancer related when I listen to what they have been doing with their lives.

      I did keep an online Facebook blog/support page for family and friends and injected a lot of humour into it. This helped me and my loved ones cope with the illness and subsequent treatment...I even had a global naked dance troupe!! Hahaha!

      I'm glad I was able to tell my family and friends immediately of my diagnosis, the amount of support I received was overwhelming, invaluable and kept my morale up during the darkest and most miserable moments.

      Good luck and I hope your treatment is a success!! I have just been given the all clear so add my story to the other success stories and never give up hope of beating this dreadful disease!!

      Jen xx

      over 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      I told them the first time I talked to them after I was diagnosed. IMO, the longer you wait to tell somebody something (whether it is that you have cancer or anything else), the worse they will receive it. The natural implication is if she waited to tell me and made such a big deal about it, it must be horrible and now I can't trust her to tell me anything so from now on I will have to constantly pry everything out of her. Please don't set up that family dynamic by withholding information on the premise that you are waiting for the right time. I've see it happen many times and the end result is always more stress on every one and often permanent damage to relationships.

      over 4 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar

      I have a 12 year old daughter and I never ever let her see me in bad shape as I was going through treatment and I don't regret this at all. She knows I was sick, she knows I have cancer but thats it.

      You can get a great deal of support from family..this is true but you need to also be prepared for unwanted advise, insensitive remarks, constant questions on your health, perhaps ramifications from work so just be careful in who and how you tell people. Take a deep breath and think it through "Before" you say anything.

      Knowing how to support someone through cancer is not easy. I have said many things that I regret because I didn't know any better and had to learn a diffrent language and to read my family memebers in a diffrent way. Now that I have cancer myself I can understand my own feeling and needs that much better.

      The American Cancer Society and the NIH has so much material available on just about every subject on cancer like "How to support someone with cancer" all for free at a n ACS location. Perhaps sharring that material will help you form the team of support you need and help your family memebers help you.

      over 4 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      I'm with CAS1 on this. My experience with telling only my mother was terrible. She took it as an opportunity to plan my funeral (and this was right after the diagnosis, no symptoms, no obvious issues and no real reason to think there would be). I immediately brought the conversation to a halt and managed to stop her telling anyone else and stopping the spread of the news. No one at my work knows, and won't, unless I absolutely have to tell them. It may take a little more work, but you can manage to keep this quiet.

      Family is hard. You have to be prepared for anything and a lot of it depends on the relationship you have with them, your history with them and their own fears. Do some research first and be prepared. You've seen some different experiences in the answers so far and all of them valid.

      over 4 years ago
    • Dick_K's Avatar

      When I was first diagnosed with melanoma, I waited to tell my college age children until after I had gone through surgery and knew the results; both children were upset that I waited before telling them. For the three other cancers I’ve gotten since then and for the melanoma recurrence, now adults, they were told as soon as a diagnosis was made. While they were upset about the news, they appreciated my telling them. My wife on the other hand knew everything almost as soon as it was happening. It never occurred to me to not tell her everything as soon as I knew it.

      over 4 years ago
    • ddkk3's Avatar

      I'm the kid in the family so I had to tell my parents. They were both out of town for the month when I was seeing doctors and trying to figure out what was going on. I wasn't sure if I should tell them over the phone or wait until they came back. My dad sort of figured out something was wrong and I eventually told him. He was in total denial and said the doctors were wrong but he still flew out the next morning asap to see me. Then when my mom got back, we told her more (we knew she wouldn't be able to handle it like that). They took care of telling the rest of the family.

      over 4 years ago
    • hmt1070's Avatar

      My husband accompanied me to the first mammogram. Four days later the pathology was confirmed and I called him first. That night I called my closest family members and told them the diagnosis. I hadn't told anyone about the lump or the initial testing... That was a long and emotional night! Over the next few weeks, I had a lot of appointments and testing, so word spread around the office. It was hard to get those words out, but the more times I did, the more accepting of it I became...

      over 4 years ago
    • Ydnar2xer's Avatar

      My boys are 25 & 27; I told them immediately this time and they were very worried, especially since this is my second time. But I have spent time reassuring them and they are very secure and not too worried about me now. I find honesty works best for us.

      over 4 years ago
    • Giraffe's Avatar

      I took my friends and family support with me. I always kept them in the loop. I am finishing my last Chemo in the AM. My support system has been key in keeping me positive and focused.

      over 4 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      I didn't wait, I told everyone as soon as I could. For me it wasn't an end of the world thing, I was planning on whooping up on it so for me, I thought I was just telling them what my plans were. My mom took it kind of hard, I just blurted it out. Now looking back I shouldn't have. My sweet wife took it hard, and was scared to death, worse than I was.
      But you know your family better than anyone, but I don't believe in holding it back from them. They will surely support you and want to help you.

      I wish you nothing but the best, and easy treatments, quick recovery!
      Keep us informed on your progress.

      over 4 years ago

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