Dropped by 'friends'

I was diagnosed in November 06 and had a mastectomy and reconstruction in Jan 07 and as far as I know has removed the cancer, I have to take Tamoxifen for 5 years. I was lucky no chemo or rads.

I had and still have a lot of support from my family but the worst thing out of all of what has happened is that a large number of people dropped me. I thought they were friends, we had known each other for sometime and socialised a lot and went on holiday etc. The people are all from the same crowd and they joined forces against me because I did not behave in the same way as I usually did after finding out I have cancer. I was blamed for them not wanting to know me anymore I was shouted at and told that there was nothing wrong with me, pull myself together, we want the old you back amongst may other unpleasant comments. This was over a year ago and I still cant get over it, I feel guilty as I know there are other people in potentially worse medical sitiations. I feel very depressed and cant move on, I am lonely without many friends now and cant understand how people can be so cruel. I went to a party a week ago , the first party for about a year which I was looking forward to as I very rarely go out now. One of these people came and wispered in my ear ‘you are a totally pointless person’. This has been the final straw and I am now signed off work with depression.

Has anyone else been treated so badly since have cancer and does anyone understand why.

Hi newkitten,

Welcome to the Breast Cancer Care chat forums. I’m sorry to hear that your ‘friends’ are treating you this way, but I am sure you will get lots of support and advice from the many informed users of this site.

You may find it helpful to contact BCC’s helpline, unfortunately it is closed until Monday morning but you might like to give them a call next week. The staff on the helpline have a wealth of knowledge about breast cancer and the issues surrounding it and may be able to suggest some of the services BCC offer as help and support for you. The number to phone is 0808 800 6000 lines being open Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm and Saturdays 9am - 2pm, all calls to the helpline are free.

Hope this helps. Kind regards,
Jo, Facilitator

Hello newkitten.

You’ve joined the Club, unfortunately, in more ways than one!

I have been treated exactly the same.

I belong to a Club that I have belonged to for over 10 years and have been treated so badly. I have been told that I am ‘of bad character’, a ‘vexatious litigant’, amongst other horrible things.

There has been no support from these ‘so called’ longstanding friends.

As for why they are doing this, like you, I do not know.

But surprisingly, there are much better friends out there. Just be patient and you will find out who they are and they will give you the support you need.

My family and my new friends have been so supportive.

I have had wonderful support from this site.

I still get very tearful when I think about how badly I have been treated by some but others have been so helpful and caring that I try not to dwell on my very nasty ‘friends’ and I am so pleased that I have the others.

I have found going to a Breast Cancer Support Group very helpful.

I do sympathise and you will get through it in time but slowly.

Christiane x

Thank you Christiane it really does help to know that I am not the only one to have this happen. I am sorry though that you have had a similar horrible experience but thankfully have been able to move on mostly and in time I expect forget the hurt. Being treated like this is the last thing I expected to happen. I am going to try the support group and thank you for your supportive message.

Kate x

Apart from not being your old self and not wanting to continue with the same social life as before, have you done anything to upset these people? If you really can’t think of anything you did intentionally, then I wouldnt waste one minute worrying about them. I havent had any problems since diagnosis, but last year, I was working for a small practice and the owner and her husband were very friendly, inviting me and my husband out and over to their house and always singing my praises at work, to the point of embarrassment. Then I handed in my notice to move to a better job. I gave them loads of time to accept and was very professional, but obviously they took it personally and were very hurt. They started getting nasty - things like changing my hours last minute and stopping cheques etc. Unfortunately for them, I am no pushover and was confident that they had the problem, not me and I managed to get what was owed to me etc. However, it was a horrible time and had I been feeling weak and vulnerable, I may well have cracked. Bullies like these love a reaction. They thrive on it and I believe making someone else miserable makes them somehow feel better. I would avoid them like the plague even if it means changing your social circles until you feel stronger. Mix with decent, mature people who have better thing to do. When you are feeling stronger, then you can decide if you can face them. Or take someone with you who will support you if they attack you verbally again.

can I ask what the point is of the person who said that to you? I don’t feel I have to have a point but really why should you have to justify yourself to anyone else?

someone once said, “to thine own self be true”

tell them to get stuffed, that is what i would do


Thank you for your message Cathy. It is always horrible when things like this happen and impossible to understand the nastiness in these people. My real friends and family have said that although I have not done anything so bad so as to cause what has happened, even if I had they should have understood what a difficult time it was for me. I would not do anything intentionally to upset people. Some I didnt see or speak to as soon as they heard I had cancer they just ignored me. I know the change in my life has been difficult at times for others and I know I would not have done to anyone what they have done to me. I know I must try to forget them as I would never trust them again.

Hi newkitten, please don’t let people like this upset you, they are not worth it. I wouldn’t wish anything on anyone, but as we well know who knows what is round the corner for any of us. Put all your energy into getting well and don’t even think about them after all they are not worth calling friends. Take care junieliz

Thank you Junieliz of course you are completely right it just takes a lot of time to get over it and it has greatly hindered my psychological recovery. No they are certainly not my friends anymore. x

Hi newkitten
know exactly where you are coming from i have gone through it with my so called best friend of 15yrs, a couple of years ago she found out her partner who she had 2 kids with was having an affair, I was the one who sat up with at 2 o’clock in the morning where she was threatning all different things i was the one who was always there when she needed me because thats what best friends do well i thought they do. I dx in 05 and i told her as soon as i found, she has never phoned me once or come to see me , on many occasions i have phoned or texted her to let her know how i am getting on, thinking that she might find it awkward talking to me, but i have come to the conclusion im not going bother again what is the point of pushing something that is clearly not there anymore. At the end of the day i think we have gone our seperate ways. sad i know but thats what happens but i could have done with her being there for me

Hi Newkitten

I have just read your thread and cant believe anyone could be so nasty to you. What awful horrible people. Having to endure this disease is dreadful and will have changed you as it has all of us. But you will get stronger and make lots of lovely new friends. You certainly dont need those nasty people in your life.

I have made some wonderful new friends on this journey through hospital, support groups and through friends of friends who know what you are going through. You will get through this and meet lots of lovely new people just be patient.

Dont forget us ladies on here if you ever want to chat when feeling down.

Best Wishes Judy x

Some of my “friends” couldn’t cope and I never heard from them, nor indeed from my own brother.

However, I’ve found new friends through this website, and have made firm friends with people in the area. The local community really rallied around and I am getting an incredible amount of support from them.

What is in the past is in the past - it’s the future you have to look forward to. It’s their loss. I’ve been a good friend, and a good sister, but I’m not wasting any more time on them. I’d rather be alone than with them. And I’m sure you feel the same.

All the best to you, I hope you soon turn the corner and begin to look to the future with some positivity
Sue xx

They makes 2 of us not hearing from our brothers he didnt even ring let alone come and see me, he had the hump with me i dont know why but if he had said what i had done i could’ve explained myself because as far as im aware ive done nothing but there you go, when i dx asked oh if he could phone and let him know as i didnt want the rest of the familky to tell him and all he said was send her my love… ha ha ha …but who needs them with other things to deal with x

true saying you can pick your friends but not you family.his loss,hope he never needs support,I sure you will make loads of new friends.

from a new friend

I have found that some people, even people who I did not expect have been really helpful and supportive and some people who I would have thought were my friends have totally ignored me while others have avoided me even to the point of not going somewhere when they knew I would be there. I have also made some really great new friends. All I can say is that a DX of cancer really shows you the true nature of people and who you can rely on and which people are a waste of space. People who are nasty to you in your situation are not worth even a minute of your time. They have the problem not you and I always believe that what comes round goes round.

Hi newkitten,

Sorry to hear you so called friends haven’t stood by you. They are not true friends in my book. I found that close family are the only true friends you will get. I am lucky enough to have 3 wonderful daughters (have you got close family), they were all devistated when I found out about this bc and they have been really supportive to me and helped me so much, im not sure how I would have coped without their support. The person who said you are a 'totally pointless person" is pointless in herself, how can someone be so heartless and say such a thing.

Best wishes to you xxx

Thank you everyone who has responded to me it really does help to hear about other experiences and to know that there are a lot of thoughtful people out there. I am lucky that I do have 2 very caring parents and a very caring brother who have all been there for me every step of the way but I feel sorry for them that they have to deal with all these added problems on top of the cancer.
Best wishes to you all Kate x

Suprisingly I have heard from my brother for the first time in 24 years - so something good has come from my BC!!

“Friends” can do what they like, good friends will stay and passing friends will pass on, but work should realise that breast cancer is recognised under the Disability Discrimination Act here in the UK so have rules they should stick to.


Here’s the thing - we are (all of us) always going to make mistakes and hurt people unintentionally and it is entirely possible that is what some of these people have done. Equally, some people are so wrapped up in themselves they can only see their own needs and it is hard for them to respond when others are reaching out. Personally i try to believe the best of everyone as the times I have caused offence I was completely unaware of it and really upset that someone had taken a comment or action so hard. But sadly some people are intentionally hurtful, so it can help to protect yourself by setting boundaries with them, even if that is simply not having contact.

All the girls are right - it does not do to dwell on past hurts. I find it helps to look to new friends and use those experiences to offer your new friends more empathy and set boundaries on how you want to be treated.

Lots of Love


Newkitten, I have only just seen this thread and can only echo the above. They are clearly not good friends - or maybe they just can’t cope. I do have a couple of lovely friends who keep saying completely the ‘wrong thing’ to me but I know it’s only because they are trying to care for me and not quite getting it right! I am lucky and feel very blessed with my friends - I have very little family - who have listened to me rant, drank with me, nursed me etc which just goes to prove there are very lovely people out there who you can meet and make new friends of. And there’s always us here on the forum :slight_smile: