Telling Friends

I just do not know what to do, I just do not know how to tell my friends about my bc. Some people know already but how I tell others I dont know how do you admit you well when you are not etc. All this is upsetting me so much.

Hello Dancing
telling people is very tough isn’t it, and makes it all far too real. I don’t honestly think there is a right or a wrong way to do it because its not something you can share without giving people a shock. I have found it easiest to speak to people I am closest to by phone (they knew about tests anyway) but others I emailed, texted or even, in some cases, dropped a line to. People almost all rang me back to talk about it and I told them as much as I knew and promised to keep them updated.
It is a tough call and we can all just find the way thats best for us - there is no etiquette for sharing this info, is there!
You sound as though you are still very shocked by this and that its early days. Please don’t think there is a way you SHOULD be doing it, because there isn’t, it has to be what works for you. Of all the people you are thinking you need or want to tell, YOU are the one who needs support and thats what your friends will be thinking, I’m sure. Good friends will want to support you.
If you would find it helpful please PM me , otherwise, would be good to keep in touch via this forum.
Take good care and please be kind to yourself
best wishes
Monica xx

Hi dancing

I agree with everything daisyleaf has said. Just remember YOU are the important person here, take it at your own pace and do what you want to do instead of trying to keep other people happy. At times I felt like I was comforting and reassuring everyone else instead of thinking about myself.

The difficult thing is when people hear your diagnosis they want to know all about it and what treatment you are having etc but what they don’t realise is that it is all new to them but you have told the story over and over again and it can get you down. I started getting so upset talking about my mastectomy with everyone before the operation that my OH said just tell everyone you don’t want to talk about it. I explained to everyone how I was feeling and they respected that.

I had a routine mammogram, got recalled, had a biopsy and got the results in the space of a week. Then I had to decide if I wanted a reconstruction which meant going to another hospital and talking to staff there, then making a decision. All of this while still in a state of shock and having a party and a holiday to celebrate my husband’s 50th birthday! With everything that was going on it took me a week or so to phone one particular friend who lives a distance away and she started crying saying “You have known for weeks and you have only just told me”. I came off the phone feeling guilty for not ringing her sooner but then I thought “Hang on a minute this is about you not her!” and I tried to remember that throughout my treatment.

Take one step at a time!

Maude xx

Hi dancing…Yes you can only do it your way…I was diagnosed last week, I am finding telling friends ok once its out there, that is if I speak directly they seem more comfy & then we move on to other topics! I struggled for a few days about work colleagues,I work for a large organisation & have an immediate work circle of about 50!But I felt that it was better for people to know now than me reappear in x weeks & have to explain…Also if one woman goes home & checks their breasts as a result of my news then thats worthwhile.
I do so agree though that we end up worrying more about others than ourselves.My hubby is so worried, & then gets even more worried if I seem to be reacting in a way he doesnt expect.We’ve only been together 2 years & he is still insecure sometimes.I just want to be myself which occasionally means being a bit withdrawn & not as loving as he wants me to be!!!
G59 xx

its a tricky one but i think you have to do what is best for you, if they are good friends they will understand!
I only told my dad, children and my very best friend before surgery as i was so scared about surgery i didnt want everyone ringing me up and wishing me luck! My OH then went round to tell people face to face when I was in hospital, we gradually let people know as I recovered. Obviously people at work knew to as i kept going off for appts!

Do what you feel comfortable with and good luck with it all
love debs xxx

Hi dancing

I agree with the other posts above. I was just like you when first diagnosed and was worried about who to tell, how to tell them etc. Going back to the “school gate” ( I have school age children) was one of my biggest fears as I usually chat to loads of vague friends and acquaintances, but didn’t know how to cope with this/whether to tell them or not.
Don’t rush yourself. Word will get round your friends eventually.

My closest friends knew that i was going for tests etc so were in the picture from the start. Other friends I sent text messages to. I also asked one of my closest friends to spread the word amongst other acquaintances in our circle. With distant friends, I have waited until I have had a text or email from them and then written about it in the reply, along with a " sorry I haven’t been in touch" message. I left my mum to tell my other relatives. My daughter told her friends and they told their mums, so word got round that way too.

That’s how it worked out for me. Your situation may well be very different. The important thing is not to stress about it if you can. Take your time and do what feels right for you.It’s a massive shock when you are first diagnosed and you need to be gentle with yourself. It will all happen in time.

Sending you a big hug
Take care

Anna x

I found in my own case the best thing was to tell everyone who really needed to be told (family, etc) within 7 days of my diagnosis.

We had just started a business prior to me finding out, so my OH thought it was only fair to tell clients that he would be working very flexibly on account of needing to be around for hospital appointments etc. Everyone we deal with was fine with that and since then we have formed long term working relationships with many of them.

With the neighbours we let them find out when we were out chatting with them. At one point a man who lives across the street asked my OH if everything was OK as the neighbours over there hadn’t seen me for a few weeks (also,they all knew my dad had just died 12 months prior to this). Once again OH just told them what was happening. I felt better for it all to be out in the open and people were very concerned about our welfare - we live in my late parents old house, so I have known many of the neighbours since I was about 5.

Hi there!

All you can do is go at your own pace. If you don’t feel up to telling someone then don’t. There is no right or wrong way of doing this and we’re all different. It does take a while for the information to sink in for as well as them so give it time. You are allowed to feel upset you don’t have to keep a stiff upper lip all the time, but you will find that the care you receive will be fabulous and the nurses are well used to us blubbling over them!! you might find it useful to talk to the breast care nurses. They will make you feel more normal!! They’ve heard it a 100 times over. I’m year on from first finding my lump and should be rejoicing but have found it hard, so ended up with one of the breast care nurses yesterday and it really helped!
Hope all goes well Emma xx

Hi dancing. We found this one of the hardest parts in those first weeks. My wife especially seemed to find it harder than the diagnosis itself! (She’s the one with BC.)

What we found, though, was that it was something that seemed hard to do beforehand, but afterwards we usually felt we had worried unneccessarily. People were generally pretty good at handling it (at least in front of us).

We mostly did it together and that helped a lot because we could fill in for one-another’s difficulties. I don’t know your circumstances, but if you have a very close friend or partner who could help, then that might be good. (We are all different, though, so maybe that doesn’t suit you.)

We tried to tell people face-to-face as much as possible, but that is not always possible. I think it is useful to plan as much as possible in advance, but then let things flow at the time.

The fact is that there is only one way to say it to people, and that was usually to say that you have something big to tell them and it isn’t good, and then just say it: “I have breast cancer” or “Janet has breast cancer”. It was hard at times to keep ourselves together, but nobody is going to mind a few tears at a time like this.

Some people will say what seem to be stupid things, but I think you have to cut them some slack as they are only human and they’ve just had a big shock.

Hey there.

I send a massive group text after diagnosis to everyone telling them and asking that they dont contact me until i contact them. I said they could tell anyone they felt appropriate to save me the awkwardness of meeting people in the street with my headscarf on!

It worked on the whole and gradually week by week i went and saw my friends- some later than others who i knew would be upset so i gave them time so they didnt cry- and eventually about 4wks after diagnosis everyone i cared for knew.

No idea if this would work for you.
I made sure the tearful people i knew were warned that tears were not appreciated when we met as i wasnt ready to deal with that!

Good luck
I would say it gets easier but i dont think it actually did!


Hi everybody

Thank you so much for all your wonderful replies. All your different perspectives and the way you went about things has really helped me and I am not stressing about it now. I feel that as others say I must do things when I am ready to do them and tell people by whatever method I feel is appropriate. I must take my time and not rush things. But as one poster said I am the main person in this and I must do things the way that is best for me.

Email was useful for me

Hi dancing
good luck with it
take care and be kind to yourself - you are the person who needs support!
love monica xxx

Thank you very much indeed Monica