Mum diagnosed with breast cancer

I am a 19 year old boy and my mum has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, I am finding it difficult to deal with this situation (privately) as my sister (14) and dad aren’t dealing with it very well at all. I am afraid to show any emotion incase it affects anyone else. They all see me as the ‘strong one’ but I don’t feel very strong at all, I also feel like I’m being stupid and am being irrational.

Hi ballarddigamy,

Welcome to the Breast Cancer Care discussion forums, you’ve come to the right place for some good, honest support from the many informed users of this site, who I am sure will be along shortly to help you and your family.

Could I suggest that you give the helpline here a ring, they’ll be able to explain to you in detail what treatment your mum may be getting and how you can help your mum through this, and of course yourself and your younger sister. Calls to the helpline are free, 0808 800 6000 lines open Mon-Fri 9-5 and Sat 9-2.

I’ve also put for you below a link to one of BCC’s publications you all might like to read, it’s called ‘In it together’.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,
Jo, Facilitator



I have a 19 year old son, although he was 14 when I was diagnosed five years ago. Please don’t feel you have to be strong - it’s OK to show you care about your mum and are worried for her. If you don’t want to upset your dad and sister, can you find a quiet time to talk to your mum, just the two of you? If not, is there someone else you can talk to, share your fears with? Maybe another family member - uncle, aunt, cousin, grandparent - or a friend your own age? I think you need an outlet for yourself. You are not being either stupid or irrational. She is your mother and her illness is rocking your world, and that shouldn’t happen when you are only 19.

As an aside - your mum will need extra help with all the household chores etc as she goes through treatment. If you can help out with those, I think it will help you, as it will give you something else to focus on.


I totally understand how you are feeling, I was always considered the strong one, because I didn’t cry in front of my Mum, my sister just couldn’t hold it back. I would cry myself to sleep most nights and be in work and just out of the blue start to cry, dont worry about it, talk to other people, ring helplines, but please don’t hide it all away it will make you ill. Once you start to talk to people you will find there are more people in the same situation as you who can help you through this. It won’t be easy, your mum knows you are upset and worried sick, that’s a mums instinct but talk to her and let her talk to you, it will do you both good and the support you can then give each other will be priceless. I will be hard for all your family to cope with but try to get on with day to day life without wrapping your mum in cotton wool, my mum just wanted the sence of normality to continue, with the cancer being in the background so to speak.

Good luck and don’t forget - YOU ARE NOT ON YOUR OWN EVER x


I completely understand how you’re feeling right now. Don’t be afraid to show how you’re feeling or feel that you have to be ‘the strong one’ as you need time to deal with your feelings and cry when you need to.

If you want to talk, just ask,you are not alone. x


Being the STRONG one sucks at times.

You probably have more information and answers now than in march. I was diagnosed in march and it’s very unclear at first. It is a long journey and you will be a great support to your mum, but she will not want you to take this on as your responsibility.

Hopefully things don’t look as gloomy for you now.

Sending you a big hug…if its not too inappropriate lol.

Eleanor xxx

I am a Mum with breast cancer - my son keeps on telling me his Mum is strong and can beat anything as that is what he wants to know (he is older than you) when what I want to hear is that he will support me in any decision I make, even if he does not agree with it personally and that he knows I will do my best to fight this and have a good quality of life at the same time. I am sure your Mum would love to hear that you love, care, worry and support her - you sound a very thoughtful and understanding young man. You cannot get through this on your own, she will have loads of emotions and stresses, whether she shows them to you or not, and she will go through some very challenging experiences. Knowing you love her enough to share your feelings without expecting her to make them better is a wonderful strength to have behind her.