People can find it difficult to talk to someone who has been diagnosed with cancer. They often want to help but may not be sure what to say.
You may find you have to talk about difficult things with your employee, but it’s important to keep communication open. Not talking will make things harder to deal with. In this section, there are tips on having the first conversations, communicating sensitively and talking to other colleagues.
The person who has cancer may struggle to talk too. Everyone is different in how they communicate with others about serious life events. Some people find it easy to talk about their thoughts and feelings, while others are more private.
Cultural differences matter too. Some languages don’t even have a word for cancer. In some communities it is taboo – something people don’t think they should mention.
Be aware that people may be embarrassed to discuss the physical details of their cancer, especially if a person of a different gender is present.
People with caring responsibilities may not recognise themselves as a carer, or they may not feel comfortable talking about their personal life in the workplace.
Talking about cancer is difficult at first, but it can be helpful for everyone concerned. There are a number of things you can do to make conversations easier.