Personal stories

I struggled to tell people about my cancer

Posted by Guest Author on 16 July 2019

I don’t like people worrying about me. Especially when there’s nothing they can do. And the anger or sadness that comes with that knowledge isn’t something I could take on when I was diagnosed with cancer. This is why I didn’t tell.

For the last couple months I have been fully consumed in taking care of myself and getting through each day. I don’t always have the energy for anything other than that.

As this journey has continued, I’ve had the awful task of telling people about my diagnosis. It took some time for me to accept everything. And a bit longer for me to wrap my head around what was happening/about to happen. And I couldn’t ask someone to share my burden until I was ready.

I didn’t even tell my husband until I had to have the biopsy. I knew something was off about two weeks before that.

Every time I tell someone, I have this fear that I will stop being me in their eyes. And I will become a cancer patient. That I’ll get the sad eyes. Or the tears. Or the hugs, or the confusion, etc. Yes, I have cancer. But that is NOT all I am. I’m still the same person I was a year ago…with an anomaly. That’s what this is. An anomaly.

As I’ve moved through this and told friends and co-workers, I’ve  realized that I’m asking them to go through this with me. Maybe I should’ve been more selfish in not thinking about how my diagnosis would affect their lives? But I wasn’t. I’m not. I do think about your reaction and how, if I need you, will you/can you be there? Can your life handle this?

Telling does release my burden a little. But it also takes me back to the beginning. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

It was hard when I didn’t have answers. It’s almost harder now that I have to answer everything again and again and again. It’s exhausting.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so appreciative of everyone who’s been supportive and checked on me and has unquestioningly been there. But at some point, I need to rest. I need quiet. I need to just be. This is why I didn’t tell.

Telling people about your cancer diagnosis, and talking about treatment and the prognosis is different for everyone. There is a lot of advice out there for these situations, so if you’re also struggling with this, have a look at some of the following articles…

How do I talk to people about having cancer? American Cancer Society

Telling others about your cancer Livestrong

Talking about your diagnosis Macmillan

Talking to your friends and family about breast cancer Breast Cancer. Org

Who to talk to Cancer Research UK

Telling friends and family about your breast cancer Breast Cancer Now

July 2019

The information and content provided on this page is intended for information and educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice.


Claire diagnosed in 2016
Support awareness research

Donate to those touched by BREAST cancer

Sylvie and Danielle began Future Dreams with just £100. Since then we have raised over £6.5m. We couldn’t do any of this without you. Please donate, if we all act now we believe that by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live.

Donate now