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How to break news about breast cancer to loved ones

Mr Massimiliano Cariati, Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon at The Wellington Hospital Breast Unit

 

Telling your loved ones about your diagnosis can be a very difficult and daunting task.
You may be just coming to terms with the diagnosis yourself and not have a lot of information as yet.


Who and how you may wish to tell about your diagnosis is a very personal choice. However, sharing the information with people close to you will undoubtedly help you cope and will make it easier for your friends and family to provide you with support.


There is no right or wrong way, and you may choose to share with only a few people very close to you or share with a more extended group. Depending on your personality and relationships, you may wish to discuss your diagnosis in person, or in writing. Some find it easier to create private social media blogs to avoid having to repeat themselves.


The way people react to the news may vary significantly, depending on how close they are to you, and also on their personal experience or history with cancer.


It is important, if you can, to be open not only about your diagnosis but also about the way you are feeling as this will help others understand how they can best help you, and provide you with support. Be open with them about who you are ok for them to share the news with.


If you have children, telling them about your diagnosis may be a frightening task and a very difficult thing to do. Your initial instinct may be to hide the diagnosis from them for fear of worrying them. 


However, children feel less anxious and frightened when they have an understanding of what is happening. If left in the dark, they may create a version of events that may make them feel as if the reason for the perceived tension and upset is that they have done something wrong. Being honest with them will help maintain trust and their ability to cope with your diagnosis. Family and friends can be a significant source of support and strength when breaking your news to your children. 


It can also be difficult finding the right way or words. I really recommend discussing this with your breast care nurse who can provide you with support and ideas on how to approach this, and also help you think about how to answer questions loved ones may ask you.



To book an appointment with Mr Massimiliano Cariati at The Wellington Hospital call 020 7952 1620.

 

Contact our experienced cancer team

Any questions? We're happy to advise you or help you to book an appointment with a cancer specialist consultant.

Call us on 020 3553 9477
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