What to do and say...

My sister has recently been diagnoised with secondary cancer. Her primary cancer was in her breast, however, the cancer has now spread to her kidney and her back (bone).
I feel helpless and fearful.
But who am I??? How must she feel, her husband, her young children.
I fear that she may die and I’m really struggling to be strong.
Having said all that, I have read a few comments on this site (this evening) and realise that many people go on to live for many years after being diagnoised with secondary cancer.
Sorry for my lack of knowledge, but I am trying to read and study more so that my knowledge and understanding is enhanced.
I am going to visit her in a couple of days and I really dont know what to say. I dont want to get tearful as I feel that I should be strong for her. I also dont want to upset her in anyway by questioning her regarding her secondary cancer. Please help, and advise.
Many thanks

Hi Zaria, So sorry that you’ve had to join us on this site, albeit for you sister. I have secondaries in my liver and spine and at the moment I’m doing ok. I know how scared and terrifying this diagnosis is but as you’ve realised, lots of women live many years with secondaries.

When you see your sister, you’ll know when she starts talking to you whether or not she wants to discuss it. If you’re not sure, then just ask her and if she says she doesn’t want to talk about it, leave it at that. She will need to talk to someone though as we all need all the support we can get. Also, once she has a treatment plan in place - that helps as well.

I don’t think this has probably helped you at all, I just wanted you to know that you and your sister and her family are not alone. You can come on here anytime at all and join in any of the threads. The ladies on here are marvellous. I’ve made many terrific ‘cyber friends’ and couldn’t do without them. It might be a good idea for your sister to come onto the site as well when she feels ready. There is a thread called ‘Feeling Low’ (which should be renamed really as we’ve all become great friends and are generally happy). If you or her would like to follow this thread and join in you will be most welcome, we’d love to hear from you and we will all support you in any way that we can.

Finally, I’d like to say that your sister is very lucky to have such a wonderful, supportive and caring sister like you. Sending you both loads of love and hugs. Please keep in touch. Dianne x x x

Dear zaria, welcome to the BCC forums where I am sure you will continue to receive valuable support and information from your fellow users.

In addition, you may find it useful to read some of our publications about secondary breast cancer to help you to understand more, your sister may also find these helpful if she hasn’t already got a copy, here’s the link to the secondary information on this site:


Our helpliners are also here to support you, your sister and family, please feel free to call on 0808 800 6000, weekdays 9-5 and Sat 9-2.

Take care