diagnosed this week how to tell kids?

Hi all

Ive read some of your stories with interest. I was diagnosed on tuesday. each day had tests last one being a bone scan today. Final consultation tomorrow am to decide treatment. I have told my family and friends and have now told my two work colleagues which wasnt easy and i was a bit abrupt putting a brave face on it all. today though i feel wiped out by it and felt trapped this morning emotionally i just wanted to run away, i kept feeling faint and sick its been a terrible strain being ‘normal mum’ since last weeks biopsy. My husband ha had his moments but is being very strong. Ive been tolf the lump ultrasounded as 2 cm but the mamogram looks like 3.5cm and so they did an mri to try and see the correct size. my ct scan was clear which was good but i dont have any other results until the morning.

theyve said if it proves to be over 3cm they will give me chemo first to reduce the size before the op. if under 3 cm i will get the lumpectomy and then the chemo.

so basically my surgeon said it was about a year of shit. her words.

I plan to tell my kids on saturday have you any advise as to the best way.

I am 39. they are 13 and under youngest is 5.


Hi Siobhain

Welcome to the BCC forums where I am sure you will recieve lots of support and information from your fellow users.

You may find it helpful to look at the Breast Cancer care booklet ‘Talking to your children about breast cancer’. You can find this at the following link:-


I also wanted to let you know that Breast Cancer Care have published a Resource Pack, it has been designed for anyone newly diagnosed with information to help you better understand your diagnosis, test results and various treatments, it is available via the following link or by contacting our helpline:


You may find our helpline useful to call during this time, they can talk to you about our other support services and also offer support, information and a ‘listening ear’. The number to call is 0808 800 6000 Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm, Saturday, 9am - 2pm. I hope you find this helpful.

Best wishes

Hi there
I was diagnosed end of Jan. I’m 38 with 3 girls ages 5, 7 and nearly 9. One of the first things I really panicked about was telling the children and how to do it. we have chosen honesty as the best policy. My breast care nurse gave me the booklet mentioned above and it really helped as it talks about how to approach the different ages. My approach to this has been very open and all the school mums know which has been brilliant in terms of the support that I have received but it does give people carte blanche to talk to you about it at all times and my oldest has definitely picked up the depth of peoples concern. That said, we sat them down and told them using simple terms but we did mention the C word and emphasised that mummy was going to be okay (have been given good prognosis stats - just long treatment time 18 months+). I have had 2 lots of surgery and am due to start chemo next week. Today I had a visit from the wig lady in readiness and the girls have seen the wig and thought the whole thing a bit of a commedy!!
It’s been really really hard but the kids have coped with it much better than I ever would have imagined
Hope this helps
Good Luck

My son was 12 when i was diagnosed, i had to tell him the day after his birthday as i was going into hospital the next week and other people knew and had started phoning. I just told him quite honestly what was going to happen and what i was having done, one stage at a time. He was the one who kept me positive all the way through and we had some laughs and some tears. i always keep him up to date with hospital appointments and tell him the outcome. It must be harder to know what to tell younger children, but at 12 my son coped with it all really well. We are quite an open family when it comes to our bodies and i have never hidden my body and scars etc. from him. I think the more normal you make things for them the better.

Good luck and hope treatment goes well and always ask for support when you need it.

hi siobhan
sorry u have had to join us but im sure u will get plenty of support from fellow forum users who r all at different stages in their bc journey.i have 2 boys and the youngest was 13 when i found out and the oldest was 18.my youngest was very emotional at first but once i had explained things to him and he realised that i was going to get lots of treatment to help me get better he accepted it a bit more. my oldest has autism so he doesnt really grasp whats going on and as long as his needs are being met he is fine. i asked thomas my 13 year old if he can give u any advice and my smart lad said to tell u to ask at the clinic for the card the onc gave to him on one of my many visits to the chemo ward. the card is called tic and the web site is www.click4tic.org.uk. thomas found this web site very helpful. i think it made him realise we were not the only family going through this crap. i hope this helps.good luck tomorrow

god bless

I was diagnosed 15th Feb and my kids are 9,8 and 3(nxt wk!) I waited until I had seen my Surgeon and had a date for the Masectomy and a clearer understanding of BC BEFORE I told them. I did make sure though that I told them before somebody else’s kid gto the chance to tell them. Also, my eldest daughter was picking up on secrecy vibes and I didn’t want her snooping on my private conversations and getting the wrong end of the stick. They did think I was going to die at first - our neighbour’s 5 yr old daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia just before Xmas, so they had an idea of how serious it was - but my husband and I eventually managed to put their minds at ease. SInce we told them, I have made a concious effort to involve them with every decison and Appointment I go to or have and that has kept them in the loop so they don’t feel like they are missing out. My 3 yr old couldn’t care less(!) so we haven’t even gone there with her!! Oh to be 3!!! My advice - only you know your kids that well, so you will instictively know what to say to them to make it easier for them.

Best of luck!!


Hi Siobhain
So sorry you have joined our club !! I am 39 DX last May 2 kids 10 and 6 at the time. I told my kids the basics and told them that it was cancer but really played it down as if it was no big deal in a matter of fact way. Maybe tell them in a week or so when the initial shock as worn off just so you dont get upset. My Six yr old wasnt too bothered , my 10 yr old had a few tears but was ok. They were more bothered that Dad would be looking after them when i went into hospital.
I had lumpectomy, node removal and 3 re-excisions. 6 Chemo and 3 weeks of Rads. The whole thing was not as bad as i expected and I,m fighting fit. Hope everything works out for you. lots of love Andrea x

hi i was diagnosed last july and have 3 boys now 11, 15 and 16, i told them individually on a one to one basis, they had lost there grandad 4 weeks previosly to lung cancer only 11 weeks after his diagnosis so i had to be careful exactly what i said, but i was honest, my 16 year old has told me that the worst part of losing his grandad was being told he was going to be ok, (this is what his grandad had told him) so he knows everything about all the statistics. i know its not the same but my 5 year old nephew who i see everyday has took it in his stride, he has told all his friends i have a poorly boob which has made my hair drop out, but my sons have found my bold head probably the worst part to cope with.
My breast care nurse also came and talked to them at our home which helped alot

Hope they dont get to upset

My daughter was 8 and my son 6 when I was diagnosed (2005), kids take it differently. My daughter cried and cried and asked if I was going to die, my son took it like any other news and asked if that was it and could he go to sleep. We took it step by step, I told the kids immed as I knew once news got out the phone would be ringing anf my mum would be in a state and I didn’t want crying or whispers as this would frighten them more. Firstly told them I had BC, then mentioned hosptial and op, once out of hospital told them extent of op, i.e.mastectomy and when they were ready they asked to look at my scar, then after results with surgeon and Onc gave them the details of chemo. We told their teachers (basics, I never did like talking about mastecomty and this was the only part i asked the kids to keep between ourselves) they were fine at school and their football and dance clubs. Kids are a real tonic when you are feeling crap and I swear they help you through treatment as you still have to fit in around them, mine also gave me loads of extra cuddles, kisses and little home made cards. My son at 6 also became my little guardsman, no matter how quiet I was being sick, he was waiting outside the bathroom door to check I was OK and everytime I took to my bed to try and sleep it off I would wake with him cuddling into me, he also offered to try and carry the shopping. I have found being as reasonably honest as possible was the best option this has meant when ever they have a concern or a question they know they can ask me direct. I also made the most of my good weeks i.e. meals and days out, this soon helps balance it all out.

Good luck, it is hard and something I never want to do again, but they need to hear it from you.

Best wishes, Debbiex

Hi Siobhain
like you the most difficult tasks is telling your kids. I was diagnosed in Feb & have had my surgery just 2 days ago. Although my Children are grown up with babies of their own it was hard not only to tell them but to explain to the Grabdchildren what was going on. Honesty is the best policy & although we havnt said the actualy word to the Grandchildren, they know Nanny cant restle for a while or pick them up but there is still lots I can do. We have joked about going bald etc. & depending on their ages they think its hilarious! It will be long year but I feel positive & think the quality ot time I will spend with Family will more than make up for the quantity.Good luck with everything and take lots of care.

Im having a problem telling my youngest shes 12 and such a worrier that ive put it off, was dx march 6th op on April 10th so were telling her this week my eldest 3 girls know (they have left home with families of their own) and tho they are very worried theyre keeping me positive. My date has been changed as I was supposed to beoperated on the 5th april in which case my daughter would have been away for the weekend and we could have approched it with a fait accompli then she couldve seen that I was ok. But im more worried about her being worried than i am about the operation itself.

Take care all

Jo xx

hi there!

I had my masectomy and recon 2 weeks ago.I have 2 children aged 13 and 6. I informed the schools straight away.Even though I have an excellent family and friends network,I felt they should know.Both schools have been a tower of strength.My daughter (6) is taken twice weekly for a sort of counselling session.She looks forward to the special time with her mentor.She keeps a diary and can express her feelings by doing arty things and knows at any time she can go for support without any pressure.My son (13) has a similar scheme.It is led by him though,when he needs it his mentor is there for him.Doesn’t have to talk just be somewhere safe to be. It turns out,4 mum’s are going through a similar situation!!!

Whilst in hospital and attending endless appointments I know the children are still attending school and are happy to go. I cannot express what a relief this has been to me!

I initially told my daughter that I have a sore boob.Then as things progressed I told her that they would have to remove it as it was poorly.She told ME that its ok as I can grow another one!!! Which in a way is what has happened.A s for my son I have explained everything and have told him he can ask me anything at anytime.

I won’t deny it has been tough and still will be tough as may have chemo etc but one bridge at a time

good luck Jennie xx