Telling my children

Hello everyone! My name is Joyce and I am 54.
I was diagnosed yesterday 9th January.
I have 5 Children aged 32, 29, 28. 16 & 11.
I remain positive about my situation, although I have a long road ahead of me. I have told my oldest son, yet to tell my two grown up daughters, plan to tell my 16year old after Monday as he has mock A Level exams - and my youngest? It will be hard to tell him. I appreciate any help. My husband is wonderfully supportive.

Hello Joyce
I’m sorry you’ve found yourself here. You must be feeling very shocked, upset, and reeling from your diagnosis. You’ve come to the right place for understanding and support! I’m sure lots of people will be along soon to offer their experiences which might help you with yours - but of course we’re all so different. I have just had to cope with telling my three children (26, 21 & 14) about my recurrence. I have tried to let everyone know at approximately the same time (within 24 hours) so that there is no imbalance of knowledge between them. Also it offers them the chance to talk about it between themselves - each in possession of the same amount of information. However, the urge to protect one’s children - especially kids who are in the middle of exams or other stressful situations - is very strong. You know them best, and you will do what is right. I have just been alerted by the Breat Cancer Haven centre in Hereford to a service aimed at 11-21 year olds called Hope ( - an online support thing for teenagers You might find that some help for your two teens.
Best of luck, maggy

Sorry to hear you are having to break the news to your children.
There is a book - Mummy’s Lump - written for children aged between 5 and 10 (I think). It may be a bit young for your son, but may help, My hospital had a couple of copies they could lend out, but it was also downloadable as a pdf. If you google it, it may help. My daughter loved it (espcially the picture of the family visiting hospital and bringing chocolate), but she was only 5 when I was diagnosed.
If you feel it is too young, your BCN may be able to suggest other books to start the discussion with an 11 yo.

Dear AirlineLady

BCC have a publication “Talking to you children” which you may also find helpful:

Very best wishes


BCC Moderator

Thank you Ladies for your support and understanding. I will tell my daughters this evening. My 16 year old after his exams on Monday and the little one shortly after. After that I can get it out more in the open and will tell my siblings, my wonderful in-laws and my close friends. I am determined this thing is not going to ruin my life or become the centre of attention for everyone. I also have 3 grand daughters but they are very small. I truly wish everyone the very best that visit this site and it’s good to be with others that understand. Once I have told the children, my next questions will be about the treatments, working etc… Take care out there…

Dear Airlinelady I am sorry you have been diagnosised with bc. It is horrible to hear those words and it left me absolutely reeling and it took a few days for it to all sink in. At first I felt despair, then anger, now I am just determined to beat this thing! I am 43 and have two children, my daughter is 14 next month and my son has just turned 11. Telling my children was the hardest thing I have ever, ever, ever had to do. But I am glad I did it. My children are my world and I can’t imagine not being here for them. I did have flack from mother-in-law who did not feel it was appropriate to tell the children as it would frighten them. They are scared, just as I am, but not telling them would have been far worse. We all sat down at the kitchen table and my hubbie and I calmly told them on a Sunday morning. It was very diffiicult but I explained what I had, told them the doctors would fix me, but I would be a bit poorly on the way. As I was having chemo before surgery, I had to tell them everything, as I knew I couldn’t hide baldness etc! That was in July last year. 6 months on, chemo is finished and I am booked in for surgery at the end of the month. I have been as honest with them as I can but have always tried to keep a positive spin on it. They accept it and understand I am on the road to recovery. . My children have made me so proud, they have been mature, helpful and amazing! It is a very difficult decision. It was very hard to do. But as a family, it has made us stronger, and we are determined to get a positive experience out of this if we can. If you would like to PM please do. There is no right or wrong thing to do in this situation, you just have to go with your heart and your head. I wish you all the best on the “pink road” - its not fun being on this road, but it is doable. This forum has some amazing ladies on here who can give you lots of information and we all do our best to support each other on the way. Take care and I hope you get some info soon on your treatment plan. Wishing all the best for you and your children and family.

Thank you so much Spookymoo… told my girls (28 & 29) last night, they were upset, but I made it clear that I am remaining 100% positive and now they are on my side. Will be telling my 16 & 11 year old later today that I have a lump that needs to be removed and that I will need medication but that I will be absolutely fine.
Feel brilliant this morning though, I had a phone call from my Consultants Secretary to say that the CT & MRI scans that I had yesterday are totally clear, which means that I just need to get rid of the lump, ever since this all started I had niggling thoughts about where else the c could be… so that is a massive relief.
You ladies are a huge inspiration to me and I thank you for that. I wish you all the very best to you for your treatment, my path is likely to be Surgery, Chemo, Rads & Tablets. I am going to effing win!!! Jxx

Dear Joyce well done for being so brave! I know how hard that must have been for you. But I am sure that now your girls know they will suport you 110%. You sound so positive which is half the battle and you are right you will beat this blooming thing! So pleased to hear all your scans are clear - that is a relief as it is a worry. I worry every niggly pain is cancer somewhere - I don’t think the worry ever truly leaves us - but I can cope with it much better now. They will sort the lump for you and you WILL get better. Its good they have a treatment plan sorted out for you. Chemo isn’t brilliant I will be honest I can think of better ways to spend my time - but it is doable and there are lots of tips and hints on here to help you get through it. Haven’t had surgery yet - so I am a virgin on that one - but everyone says that’s the easy bit. I am on Tamoxifen now which makes me extreemly hot and grumpy - so I am trying to channel that into beating the nasty lump that is blinking away inside of me! Wishing you all the best with telling your other two - you will be surprised how resilient children can be. My son has grown into a man overnight with this and is much more aware of other people’s feelings generally - which can only be a positive. I have also found the schools to be excellent in supporting my children and they have provided them with counselling etc which has been of benefit to them. Please keep us posted on how things are going. Good luck and keep your fighting spirit - you will win! Em x

I have a 14 year old girl and 13 year old boy. They were shocked at first but we have been completely honest with them, in fact we had booked a surprise holiday to Florida for May before I was diagnosed so chose to tell them about that at the same time which really helped as they quiickly realised I was fully intending to be around for that holiday! I was diagnosed in July with grade 2 IDC, had lumpectomy in September and have just finished Chemo (profile picture is my nails painted by my daughter to celebrate end of chemo and my son surprised me with a lovely breast cancer care pin which he had looked up and ordered with no adult intervention, again to celebrate the end of chemo.

Involving them all the way, including the decision to have chemo as I was borderline has helped them and me.

I know how hard it is telling the kids but they are incredibly resilient and just want to help and support.

Good luck with your treatment.

Jayne x

Thank you ladies, I have now told the younger two boys that I will have to have a lump removed and then we will keep them more informed the closer I get to chemo… Now they know, have started to tell Family and friends. Have actually started a private group on my Facebook, so that I can write regularly about my progress to a select circle of people. Also started an Email list for another group of people to keep them informed. The response has been wonderful, very loving and supportive…
I am very heartened by your Children’s responses and even though we are a close family, I think this experience will bring us even closer. My thinking is “I’m glad it’s me” and not one of my children, nieces or nephews - now that would be very hard to cope with.
Shame, but it looks like our half term trip to Cyprus will be off, but we will do other nice things closer to home.
Thank you for sharing and support, I feel like I have made new friends that will help me on my journey… and if I can help you with your journey, or you just need cheering up, then just holler!!
… and oh, it was my lovely hubby that discovered my lump! I normally examine my breasts in the bath or shower, not lying on my back … after so many years together he knows my boobs better than me!
Joyce xx