Anyone else not told their family about having breast cancer?

Hi, my mum has dementia and my dad is struggling to cope with being the main carer so I’ve not been able to tell them about my diagnosis and treatment. I’ve had my surgery and radiotherapy and having ongoing hormone treatment and I know that not telling them is the kindest thing to do but I hate that I’ve not been able to look after them both as much as I have previously done and hate that they feel abandoned because they don’t know the real reason. Wondering if anyone else can relate? Xx


Dear 1980,

I would like to say what a kind and wonderful daughter you are, thinking about your parents first, When you have been going through so much yourself.

personally feel you have done the right thing. Mum probably wouldn’t understand and dad‘s got too much on his plate so if you could turn to another family member or a special friend who could maybe pop in and see mum and dad when you’re not feeling quite up to it, but as time goes on you will probably get stronger.

I do wish you well, remember your not alone, we are all here for you when you feel you need to unload anything that maybe making you anxious or concerned.

With the biggest hugs Tili :pray::rainbow::pray::rainbow:


Thank you so much for replying. Your message really has helped. Sometimes doing the right thing is the hardest thing to do because even though I’m 43, all I want right now is my mum and for her to tell me everything will be ok. I’m really glad I’ve protected them from this but i hate thinking that they think I’m not around as much because I don’t care. Thanks again. Lots of love xx


I feel so awful for you @1980. I was my mother’s principal carer for the last few years of her life with dementia so understand just how stressful and upsetting it is for everyone, particularly your dear Dad. I thank my lucky stars that she had passed 15 months before I got my BC diagnosis. I honestly don’t know how the two things could be combined as dementia care is an all-consuming 24/7 responsibility and cancer treatment is so debilitating. It is impossible to combine them and all you’d do if you tried is wear yourself out so that recovery took longer. Perhaps as active treatment is now over, you will be able to be involved more as time goes on? You know your situation better than anyone and are doing what you think is best but perhaps your Dad is stronger than you realise and could deal with a brief, factual explanation? My heart goes out to you, it really does. I was 66 when my Mum died and I miss her every hour of every day.


Thank you for replying. Knowing other people understand really helps. Lots of love xx

1 Like

I was diagnosed in March and have elderly parents (admittedly in another country which helps!) and I have no intention of telling them. Partly to protect them but tbh they really wouldn’t help me either - their panic and distress and doom and gloom is not what I need right now (or ever!!)

I talk to them on the phone each week and completely pretend everything is ok. Maybe that’s wrong but this is my life and my ‘story’ so I’m going to do what’s right for me!!

You do what’s right for you xx


Sorry another bit - I too wish I could fall on my mum for support and it’s another awful thing about all of this. At times like this we want our parents to comfort us and yes, tell us it will all be ok. So instead I’ve reached out to friends, everyone I trust with this. I have got that support elsewhere and that will get me through this.

Keep posting here too - it’s been a lifeline for me during the darkest days xx


My mother is 96 and still living in her own home for the time being. She has age related memory loss and can’t really handle any changes in her routine. I haven’t told her but the rest of my immediate family know. It is much easier this way or I will be repeating myself every time I go to see (she is hard of hearing as well as understanding), Also her sister died with breast cancer in her eighties and I don’t want her bringing that up either! No point in worrying her unnecessarily. I have two sisters who have been brilliant thankfully.


Hi @1980

So sorry you are going through all of this. I am the sole carer for my mother with dementia (along with two small kids) and it is tough. I too struggled with telling her but in the end I decided to let her know by writing my journey down and trying to put a positive spin on it as much as I could (caught early, very good doctors etc). I told her orally but then she would forget again- but remembered eventually. It was exhausting repeating things (although by writing it down I could point her to what she needed to know). At the same time am glad I did because she does say things like it will be ok- and so there is a glimmer of my younger mother there- and as I lost my hair with chemo she probably would have noticed!

It’s a totally personal decision about telling family or not and as was said above maybe your dad would understand also if you tell him that you are in active treatment so it doesn’t come back. But totally get it that you don’t want to worry them either.

The only thing I would say is that you should choose the approach that reduces your stress as much as possible. You are as present as you can be right now for your parents and you need to focus on your health first. Although it might not have changed anything the stress I was under the past two years trying to deal with everything am sure didn’t help my BC prognosis.

Take good care of yourself xxxx


@1980 sorry to hear about it!

I didn’t tell my parents either. The reason is that they live abroad (I don’t have any family in the UK) and won’t be able to come and visit me because of visa issues. For them, knowing that I’m sick and not being able to care for me would be disastrous. My husband is here and he is taking such a great care of me. I’m actually feeling quite ok despite the chemotherapy but my mental state is quite fragile.

I decided to choose me and my needs and do whatever works best for me.



I was the main carer for my mum and son (MH issues). I told my son I had DCIS but didn’t tell him that I also had invasive cancer. My late mum had early onset dementia at the time and I told her I needed an operation but that it wasn’t cancer. The relief on her face told me it was the right thing to do.
Recently though my son had a go at me when the Princess of Wales announced she is dealing with cancer dx/treatment, as I said I knew what she was going through and was told “how dare you compare your non cancer to Catherines’”.
Hurtful but still not willing to tell him.


I have just been diagnosed with lobular carcinoma and waiting to tell my children as my youngest is doing her GCSEs and has massive anxiety since lockdown and my eldest is trying to get her 2nd year assignments in for uni, so i am pretending that nothing is wrong and im being seen for my bad back then turn my phone off when i went to breast clinic to find out my results a week ago. They track us on our phones… Not told my parents either. Until i know whats happening, and what my plan of treatment is, no-one needs to know yet, but my god, it is hard always being happy and keeping a very calm household when i am in total loss and confusion. Sorry to let it all out, am upset, so apologise for spelling mistakes. Take care, I admire what you are doing for your parents.


I was diagnosed on the 20th March and only told my 2 boys (12 & 14) on the 4th of May!!! That included having a mastectomy and full node removal during this time. They knew I was going in for an operation to look at lumps in my breast but that was it - that way we had an opening to tell them more later on.

I wanted to give them the whole picture so I could tell them exactly what was happening but also I needed to get my head around all of this. It was hard to act like nothing was wrong but it also distracted me too and stopped me going down the darkest holes all the time.

You need to do what’s right for you and your family… don’t feel bad about how you deal with this. When I eventually told them they didn’t care about what had happened to me before, they just wanted to know what was happening next and that I was going to be ok.

Whatever you decide will be ok x


Hello @sh18

Welcome to the club nobody wants to join.

It is entirely understandable that you don’t want to share your diagnosis at this time. There is no right or wrong way to deal with a diagnosis and no rules about who needs to know. At the moment you are at a very early stage and no doubt desperately trying to get your own thoughts and feelings in order and not able to take responsibility for anyone else’s for now.

Once you have a treatment plan in place things will start to feel more manageable and you can then decide when how and who you want to tell.

In the meantime this is absolutely the place to “talk” and vent amongst those of us who all understand how you are feeling

Lots of love
AM xxx