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 ?

Hi Samantha, No you are certainly not alone in not wanting the world to know, I only told immediate family and friends, basically those I couldn’t hide it from. I have plenty of people who I regard as close friends and family who don’t know and my lot that did were sworn to secrecy, they knew it wasn’t their news to tell. 


Im three years on from diagnosis now and still have no urge to tell them, I do mention it now and again to someone who didn’t know but it’s as and when I want to, there are no rules to say you need to share this and Im surprised your team thinks it’s odd, you do what’s  right for you Xx Jo 

Hi Samantha,
As Jobey says really.
The early days of diagnosis are a shock & we all need time to adjust to it, similarly, dealing with others reactions can be difficult.
Therefore it has to be what you’re comfortable with.
Apart from my OH, I held off telling other family members until I had more info. As my parents are elderly, I wanted to be clear about it all before telling them. As it turned out, they coped just fine.
I also told trusted people at work, simply because, I had to make sick leave arrangements, so it was on a ‘need to know’ basis.
However, once I was through this difficult early adjustment stage, then I was quite happy to be open about it. As it turned out, others who had been through a similar experience, whom I had no idea had been through it, then shared their experiences. So when the time is right for you, it can be supportive to share it.
Do what you need to do, to get through.
ann x

Hi SisSamantha, sorry you find yourself here but glad you have found us.  It’s normal to feel this way and I agree with Ann and Jobey that you really don’t want everyone to know.  I think partly it’s because it’s hard enough coping with your own emotions and you don’t want people saying anything negative which might affect your mental state.  At first my diagnosis was only picked up in my lymph nodes and I had to wait for them to establish that it was in fact a breast primary so I spent 4 days not telling anyone I had cancer because I didn’t know what to tell them and couldn’t cope with the unknowns myself, telling others propagates and magnifies your own anxieties.  I kept it to my close family and friends and work colleagues at first. I’m now over a year on since diagnosis  and I’m very open about it now that my treatment is finished and my hair is growing back to “normal”.  Here’s my story which I hope you find some comfort from (I had a bit harder time of it than some but this shows that you can get through it and still be here to tell the tale):

sending hugs. Xx

Thanks ladies for all your support. Maybe in time I may want to tell others, but right now I want to keep it to myself - as you all say I have to do what’s right for me and if I can’t be selfish now then when can I be! Xxx

… too right, Samantha!
I remember feeling quite ok about feeling selfish when first diagnosed, which in an odd sort of way, felt a little bit liberating.
Getting a bc diagnosis is a shock & we all differ in how we deal with it whilst we get our heads around it & that’s just fine.
ann x

I am 18 months since diagnosis, had chemo, surgery and rads, and I didn’t and still haven’t told many people of my diagnosis and treatment. People I see every day never knew, friends I’ve had for 15 years never knew, and as I cold capped and kept hair and worked through most of my treatment, nobody noticed.

I don’t regret keeping it quiet. I did it mainly for my children’s sake, so they weren’t on the receiving end of well meaning sympathy or questions. I also didn’t want anybody talking about me in their earshot, or comparing my situation to someone else’s. Keeping it quiet also allowed me to maintain some normality in the madness that accompanies diagnosis and treatment. However, I did tell 6 close friends and their support was very important. Having someone to meet up with during the good weeks, and relax, not having to pretend. I also realise now that I missed out on lots of help/sympathy though, and because nobody knew, their expectations of me stayed the same and at times that was hard to deliver.

I think it’s very personal. Take it slowly if you are having doubts. Your friends and family will be there when you want them to be.

Hi Samantha,
Sorry that you find yourself here. I totally understand your wish not to tell anyone. I was diagnosed in October 2016, had mastectomy & now Tamoxifen. Very few people know about my diagnosis and I have no intention of telling anyone (apart from close family & friends). I simply don’t want the shock & sympathy from other people or to be defined as someone who has had cancer. Best of luck to you. S xxx

Hi Samantha…sorry you’re starting on this journey 

I too kept it quiet, not a secret but not an announcement either. I didn’t want to feeel like a patient. I went to work and carried on life as much as possible!! 

I came out after Chemo finished before surgery but mostly ( and I’m not ashamed to say it) so that people would sponsor me for Race for Life!!

This is such a personal journey for us all. I did however open up and share with the ladies on the Monthly Chemo thread and I would not have struggled to stay strong without those girls…

GGood luck and stay positive x