How To Tell Family And Friends About Breast Cancer

How To Tell Family and Friends About Breast Cancer

Hello loves !

I hope everyone’s had a good week ! Mine was pretty much occupied with family and prayers since it’s the month of Ramadhan. I went to university on friday to sit for a paper and I have another one coming up tomorrow (yikes!). Wish me luck !

Anyways, I was reminiscing on a conversation that I had with some friends a while ago on the topic of how to tell family and friends about breast cancer. The questions that always pop up are :

I don’t know who I should tell that I have Breast Cancer

The day that the doctor breaks the news that you have breast cancer, you’ll have a million questions running through your head. Then when the question of who to open up to comes across your mind, you start to feel a little pressured. My advice is to only open up to those to whom you feel comfortable. If you are only open to sharing the news with your immediate family, that’s okay. If you deal with it better by writing a blog and making it public, that’s okay too.

How To Tell Family And Friends About Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer

It will lift a great deal of weight of your shoulder, knowing that you are not going through this alone. Also, chances are they will want to help you in any way that they can. As the number of people you tell grows, you may be overwhelmed with calls and/or messages (sometimes about some miracle fruit or water that can help cure cancer). The closest people to you can help you screen your calls so that you don’t get too stressed out with it.

I’m unsure of when to share the news with my family and friends

There is never a good time to break the news to someone. So my answer to this is, whenever you are ready.

My mom told me to tell my long lost relative that I have never met because he/she is a doctor. I feel uncomfortable.

Ah the golden question. Do I have to spread the news to all my 20 siblings, 15 cousins, second cousins, bosses, 5 cats etc? My opinion is no, you are not obligated to do so. No matter how many times your friends bug you to share it with that high school friend that you haven’t met in 10 years or that neighbor that gives you gifts every festive season, if you are not comfortable to share it with them, don’t.

How to tell family and friends about breast cancer

I was thinking about the various ways on how to write this out, but i’ll try and make it as simple as possible. The way I see it, there are 2 ways on how to tell family and friends about breast cancer :

  • In person
    • Do it in a private place. Chances are you and your friends/family will cry buckets. (Note : Bring tissues with you at all times).
    • Decide on how much information you want to reveal. Remember, you have control of how much you want to share.
    • Be prepared to accept and ask for help (I will touch more on this subject in another article).
    • When breaking the news to a group of people, decide whether you prefer to do it individually or in a group setting. For instance, I got my whole family to come to my moms and I broke the news to everyone there. When it came to groups of friends, because of everyone’s busy work schedule, I told them individually.
  • Over the phone/e-mail/whatsapp/skype/letter/morse code/smoke signal
    • Make sure the person is sitting down
    • Ensure that he/she is not driving (I made the mistake of telling a friend of mine while she was driving. Not a good idea.)
    • Ensure that he/she is not operating any heavy machinery.
    • Good phone/internet reception. Seriously, it’s frustrating when you’re trying to pour out your heart and soul, and your friend keeps saying “HELLO? HELLO? WHAT? WAIT AH I CALL YOU BACK. NO LINE HERE.”

There will be plenty of times when people do not react the way you want them to. It doesn’t mean that they don’t care, but more that they don’t know how to respond. So give them time to digest the news as well.

I hope this helps some of those that want to reach out but don’t know how to tell family and friends about breast cancer, even though it may not be applicable to everyone. Again, you are the decision maker when it comes to sharing about your diagnosis. Cancer is only a vehicle, whereas you are behind the wheel and you decide where you want to go.

“Sometimes you get to choose your battles, and sometimes they choose you.”


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