Keeping it a secret

I’ve recently been diagnosed with primary breast cancer but am keeping it a secret (apart from my absolute immediate family who have also been sworn to secrecy)


Has anybody else done this? My clinical team seem puzzled by my approach ?



I know when I was first diagnosed I did not tell my mum, she is elderly and does not live locally to me.  I wanted to wait until I had had my op and results so that I could tell her exactly what was going to happen, rather than it might be this or it might be that.  She was not happy that I had kept it from her at first however understood my reasoning.


I did tell my very close friends and, obviously, my close work colleagues as I was going to being having time off work for surgery etc.,  I did tell them that if anyone asked where I was at work, I was happy for them to explain.


It is amazing when you do tell people how many other ladies you come across others who have been through the same, I found it very supportive, and one lady in particular at work was able to sit down with me and answer some questions that I had in the very early days before I had my op.


It is entirely up to you who and when you tell people, you are trying to process the information you have been given at the moment and it is early days.


Sending you hugs


Helena xx

Hi Samantha I hope you are ok. I didn’t tell many people until I found out my treatment plan and explained what was happening to my kids, I was worried someone would let slip to them. But I found the more people I told the more support I got, and you will need the support. I eventually started updating everyone through Facebook and the messages of support I got really helped me through. I was 1st diagnosed in Sept 16 then got a different cancer in the other breast in Jan this year so had to tell everyone I had it again, and again the support has been amazing. You’ll find that so many people have stories to tell and again it will help with your own journey. I’m awaiting a mastectomy and have had loads of advice from friends who I didn’t know had experience of them, either their own or someone they know.

Everyone is different but I do think letting more people in will help you xx



I got diagnosed in February and before even moving on to radiotherapy have now been diagnosed with another type of bc in the same breast.  Lucky me!


We told our children and close family quite quickly after diagnosis back in February.  I think the hardest things were having to repeat the same story over and over again, and also having to deal with their reactions, which were generally ‘I’m sorry’, which clearly isn’t helpful and quite an emotional drain.


So, no, your keeping it secret isn’t weird.  It saves you going through their reactions until you are ready to deal with it.


i only found out last week about the second bc.  I couldn’t face having to tell everyone again, so I sent a blanket email out to friends explaining what had happened.  This Worked for me - it saved me getting emotional, and I asked them not to respond with emails of sympathy, but i’d gratefully bank offers of practical help!  Loads of offers in, which I’m sure will help in the coming months.

Hi Samantha, I too have not told anyone except my husband since my diagnosis in April & I too have felt that the medical team find it unusual. My initial reason was not to tell my daughter until she finishes her gcses (2 more weeks!) But the closer it gets, the less inclined I feel to share this info with anyone else (I will be glad to come clean to my children tho as I hate lying to them - they think mum’s had a back op).

Hi again Samantha.
It’s funny that I’ve just seen your reply as I’m having as sleepless night deciding whether to tell one of my best friends.
She got in contact yesterday and we’ve arranged to meet on Monday. I haven’t seen her since the evening b4 I found my lump (we’d been out with friends for my birthday at the end of march). I thought I’d decided to give her the option of the ‘pg’ version that we’ve told a few people or the whole graphic truth but I’m undecided again now. I feel a bit like it’s a pandoras box kind of thing (I hope that’s the right analogy)…once it’s out/You know,
you cant un-know & I’m not sure I want to burden her with that - although, selfishly it might be nice to get it all off my chest (so to speak!?!). We also have an overnight trip planned (My whole family & her & her daughter) the day after I plan to tell my kids so it might help if she’s ‘in the loop’ I guess. Arghhh. I guess there is no right or wrong answer. I shall just have to see what feels right at the time. Sorry for waffling. J x

Hi, I had a wire guided wide excision for microcalcifications found in routine mammogram back in February. I found the whole process quite a shock to the system my husband was with me at every appointment and like you I chose not to tell many people - I have 2 son’s and aged parents (who have their own health issues) I didn’t want to say anything to them because I couldn’t answer their questions, I decided that after the op if there was further treatment required I would have to tell them but until then I didn’t want them to have to worry (particularly because I was worried enough and couldn’t deal with their worries as well) thankfully all margins came back clear and I am 5 months down the line all I have to contend with now is annual mammograms for next 5 years - I will deal with those when I have to hopefully with no further occurrences fingers crossed. I still have not said anything to my boys or parents but now I’m feeling stronger and positive it is something I may discuss with them. It sounds weird but it was my way of coping at the time. Good luck with everything xx

Hello everyone

This is my first post.  I was diagnosed last August, the same week my younger sister (10 years younger) was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  She lived for 8 weeks as she was not treatable.  I was with her when she died.  

I told my close family, three sons, three sisters, including my younger one who was ill as I felt it was the right thing to do, also my husband, of course, sister in law, and two very close friends.  I chose not to tell anyone else or anyone in our small town because I didn’t think it was any of their business.  This has worked out well for me.  I don’t get people keep asking me how I am.  

I had two LWE’s and then a Racquet on the same breast in order to get clear margins so I had three ops over two months and am now on hormone therapy.  I am just so grateful I can have treatment; not like my poor sister.  Perhaps this helped put it all into a different perspective for me.




I am so sorry to hear about your sister how dreadfully sad, It certainly does put our own troubles in to perspective. 

I have never been open about my diagnosis, 3 years on there are many who don’t know and that’s the way I like it. I sometimes will speak out if I feel the need but it’s few and far between.


I like being able to go out and about without feeling that I am being talked and without feeling like I have to explain to everyone I meet that because  I’ve had cancer it doesn’t mean I’m about to die! 

It’s just easer not to say anything, It’s hard enough to deal with without facing endless questions and sympathy from others. 


I hope you are keeping well Xx Jo 

Thank you, it’s starting to feel easier to talk about and I think it’s partly down to having the time to take everything in, when you start in this journey everything happens so fast and you are not in control of your own body! Let alone thought processes xx

Helena, can I ask how the first follow-up mammogram after treatment was. I am healed on the outside but still have twinges of tenderness and although first follow up mammogram is months away I am not looking forward to it at all mostly because i have concerns something else will be found and I will have to go through more surgery and secondly being the wussi that I am I’m scared it’s going to hurt - I fainted after my biopsies and felt a complete fool. As I sometimes catch myself and sometimes feel pain I dont relish the thought of my poor tender boob being crushed again although I understand why it has to be done. X

Thanks will have to man up when the time comes and hope they remember what a wuss I am xx



I didnt keep my BC secret the first time, but I did tell a white lie, I told everyone with the exception of my partner and 2 others that Id had a lumoectomy, when in fact I had a mastectomy. I have since had to have that implant removed and another put in its place and again no one knew. Now I have been told that wasnt a success and it has to come out all together, I’ll probably keep that secret too…


I have to admit, after my second surgery I felt totally isolated and alone and I wanted and needed the support from my friends, but I hate relying or being depenedent on people and I also feel stronger in myself if I dont receive any sympathy.


Theres no right or wrong, its down to you and how you feel. A lady I met at a Moving forward course told me she knew people were talking about her and felt it was gossipy rather than sincere, it puzzled me at first but I sorta understand what she means now.