• Just found out my 17 year old daughter has skin cancer. I don't even know how to tell her.

    Asked by Kamoberly on Saturday, April 27, 2013

    Just found out my 17 year old daughter has skin cancer. I don't even know how to tell her.

    15 Answers from the Community

    15 answers
    • leepenn's Avatar

      Oh my gosh - my heart goes out to you. There are a ton of resources through cancer clinics - ask for help in starting the conversation... and the plan. Does your Does she have to do surgery / rads / chemo? Or, will surgery be the only treatment plan followed by careful monitoring?

      The other MAJOR resource is going to be other families with kids with diagnoses similar to your daughter's. A social worker through your cancer clinic can help connect you to groups like that. By talking to other parents, you might get some good ideas about how to proceed.

      I wish you the very best luck - I cannot imagine having to have this conversation with my own child.


      over 3 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Dear Kamoberly,

      Hi. I'm Aliza, a Breast Cancer patient and the site's unofficial resident Medical Librarian. I answer questions - usually non medical (librarians shy away from answering med questions because to do so, even when we know the answer is to practice medicine without a license which is illegal), refer people to doctors, hospitals, institutions, agencies, websites, books, media, etc. I also do research when requested or required. I am however, permitted to speak from my own experience as a Cancer patient and those of my family and friends (we number too many).

      Your question really moved me. My daughter just turned 26 today. She's well, but I thought about what I would do in your circumstances as my late mother had had melanoma at one time (it was caught early, removed surgically and she didn't die from it), but I think what I'd do in your situation is the following. I'm assuming that a dermatologist (or Family Practioner) found your daughter's melanoma. I would phone that doctor and explain that you are having difficulty with telling her and ask them to do it with you present. This isn't a cop out on your part. Physicians are trained to give this kind of news to people. I know (My ex husband was a physician). The doctor will be gentle with your daughter and with you present, it will be less scary for her and she/he can then at the same time outline what the treatment plan will be. (You didn't mention if they know how far along, etc.).

      Off the top of my head, that's the best thing I can suggest. Keep cool mom! Let the doctor who has lots of experience doing this be the one to tell her because you don't want to break down while doing so and scare her more (it could make her feel hopeless). Remember, I told you my mom had it (as an older woman), they caught it early, all she needed was some surgery on her hand and that was it. She lived to be 84 and died from something else entirely. While it's not good news (none of us is on here with terrific news in the beginning), the results don't have to be a death sentence, sometimes they can be simple or sometimes they can be something that requires a bit more treatment but the person will still live a "normal" life.

      If I can do anything else to help you, please let me know-you can contact me here or email me offsite. I wish you luck in conveying this unhappy news to our daughter and I wish your daughter the best possible outcome

      Warm wishes,

      over 3 years ago
    • Gabba's Avatar

      In order to make the diagnosis I assume she had a biopsy done so she already knows "something is up"... I would speak to the dermatologist who did her bx and perhaps he/she would have you come in together and your daughter could be told then...trust me, she already knows you are worried so she will be too...she needs to be kept in the loop as far as her treatment plan goes, hopefully this was found early and surgery may Be her best option...get hooked up with the best cancer center in your area ASAP...good luck and God bless you both...I will be praying for you and her.

      over 3 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      One more thing--

      I forgot, contact CancerCare asap. They offer great counseling to Cancer patients and their caregivers. Their Social Workers are highly trained to deal with the specialized needs of Cancer patients and this I think will be very useful to you and your daughter right now.


      over 3 years ago
    • MRoadrunner's Avatar

      Honesty is always the best policy, in my opinion. I would want to know. She needs to be aware of the reasons for treatment and for avoiding the sun. If you have a trusted friend or family member, you could ask them to join you for the talk. Due to her age, take cues from her to find out what she wants to know. Let her ask the questions. Don't give her too much information unless you are sure she can handle it. She's probably stronger than you think.Good luck and I'll say a prayer for you both!

      over 3 years ago
    • Vjp2012's Avatar

      Having a 17 year old daughter myself, my hear goes out to you. Honesty is the best policy. Make a plan for both you & the doctor to tell her. Be sure to reassure her that cancer does not define her. This is a bump in the road of life & you'll be with her every step of the way & you'll get through this. And afterwards, spend some time together doing something that is special for her. Or, she may want some space to be with her friends. Then, let her but plan time later for the two of you. God bless you, you are in my prayers.

      over 3 years ago
    • Kamoberly's Avatar

      They did a biopsy two weeks ago and the doctor called me Friday afternoon to let me know that is was melanoma and they needed her to come in on Monday to have the spot and surrounding area removed. After that they will know more. The bad part about this is I am 600 miles away right now and can't get home until Sunday. So I won't have an opportunity to sit with the doctor. I have talked to a family member that is a breast cancer survivor and the kind words, thoughts, and advice that I have received from everyone on here has helped me make it through the last 24 hours. I have never in my life felt so helpless and frightened. Thank you all so much for the prayers.

      over 3 years ago
    • sleahey07's Avatar

      I was twelve years old when I found out I had Stage 3 Melanoma Skin Cancer. My parents told my family before telling me. I understand why, they were trying to protect me. But this was a crucial moment in my life and I needed to know immediately. I think it was because my parents wanted to have a solution before telling me and I think they wanted me to live life normally a few more days.
      They told me around four days after I was diagnosed. I wanted to be able to tell everyone and talk to them about it, but my parents had already done that. I was sort of frustrated that I was the last to know about it, but I was glad my parents told me. I never held it against them, I just asked them to always tell me my results truthfully from then on out so I knew what to expect. Melanoma is hard, but that's why we fight our hardest and have the support from our loved ones to help guide us through the journey..
      I wish my parents could talk to you, they could definitely understand somewhat what you are going through. I know it was tough for them, as it is for you. My advice is to be as strong as you can when telling your daughter, but to be truthful and let her know as much about it as you know. Just be her mother, because at that moment that is who she will need.
      I'm sorry I can't be more helpful, I will pray for you and your daughter. Everyone gets through their journey differently, there is no right or wrong way to go through the journey. Just try to stay optimistic, see everything in a positive light, as it will help you through the hardest of times.
      I wish you and your daughter the best, and just remember that you have prayers being sent your way from Texas.

      over 3 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      Hi Kamoberly, I'm sorry for your daughter's diagnosis, and yes it's hard to tell someone in your family either about their dx or your own. I had two parents that were in a similar situation that I had to tell, it's hard.

      Here is one of our guides in our series "A Beginner's Guide To Cancer", this one is "How to Tell Family And Friends" maybe you will fined some extra help in it. https://www.whatnext.com/cc/how_to_tell_family_and_friends

      over 3 years ago
    • Stevo's Avatar

      Just know that you and she can get through this. I also had melanoma - and that was 8 years ago. Since then I've gone to the doctor regularly for check ups and I try to keep a good eye on my skin myself, but I've been able to carry on my life with no regrets. So there is hope - don't despair - and fight this thing!

      over 3 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      I understand the panic, but try to remain calm until after Monday. This is the scariest part of the journey. Monday you will have much more information (and in the following days) and you will feel calmer because you will know what you are dealing with. Good luck.

      over 3 years ago
    • Joachima's Avatar

      I'm so sorry, it must be so hard for you right now - I do agree with others who have responded - being honest with her from the beginning is best. I will be praying for you & your daughter as you go through this journey together.

      over 3 years ago
    • Tracy's Avatar

      I had stage 4 cancer as a teenager. It is important to be calm, honest and loving with her. Remember that no one has an expiration date stamped on us so stay positive. There are some really great support systems available for your whole family. Please, take care of the whole family Tracy

      over 3 years ago
    • StrongSteph's Avatar

      I am so sorry!! Hang in there....Hoping and praying for you and your daughter!

      over 3 years ago
    • JackieK's Avatar

      I am very sorry about the terrible news, but remember it is not the end. I was diagnosed when I was 19. If she ever wants to talk tell her she can message me on here anytime about anything. I'm about to turn 22 in march so I'm still right there with her.

      over 2 years ago

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