Talking about your cancer
This section aims to help you talk about your cancer to other people.
After being diagnosed with cancer you may find it difficult to talk about what’s happening to you and how you feel. It’s common to find it upsetting, uncomfortable and even painful to talk about your illness with family and friends. Talking to your nurses, doctors and other professionals can also be difficult.
When you’re dealing with cancer, you may feel that you just want to shut the whole thing out of your mind, and pull the bedclothes over your head until everything is alright. You may not want to talk to anyone about your situation. However, the suggestions in this section can help you talk to your family and friends. You may be quite surprised - and pleased - with the changes that can be brought about simply by talking.
This section aims to help you:
understand some common reactions to being told you have cancer understand
how your friends and family may be feeling
find a sensible and practical approach that will help you talk about your cancer more freely and easily.
We hope this section makes you feel more comfortable about asking what you want and need to know, and helps you to talk about your feelings if you want to.
Some people say that being diagnosed with cancer has had unexpected benefits. For some, a crisis or challenge helps them sort out what really matters in their lives. It may helpthem to decide who their closest friends are, and how they want to spend their time.
Throughout the section we’ve included some comments from people affected by cancer, which you might find helpful. Some quotes are from members of our online community, while others are from people who’ve shared their story with us.
Talking about cancer
Some cancers can be cured with treatment and others can be controlled for many years. However, the moment someone is told they have cancer is almost always a time of emotional crisis. In fact, most people say that they’ve never faced a bigger or more frightening challenge in their life.
It’s important to realise that there isn’t a ‘right’ way to cope with cancer. This section can give you some general guidelines that you may find helpful. But how you talk to people about your cancer will depend very much on your personality and how you usually talk to the people around you.
Talking about your cancer can help you feel closer to the people who matter to you. It may also help you cope better with the challenges and uncertainties caused by the cancer.
Don’t worry if the examples we use in this section don’t fit in with your own style of communication - you can adapt them to suit you.