When to tell family


I am a 72 year old who for the past few months found bloody spots in right cup of bra…thought nothing of it, thought it was probably from a little scratch on my breast.  But last Thursday there was a flood in my bra…made GP appt …urgent referra to Breast Clinic. 

I have 3 grownup children…my daughter is in the middle of a difficult divorce, my daughterinlaw  is heavily pregnant with her second child. My youngest is extremely busy with his job.  I don’t want to upset them. I have told my best friends .  I am in a total mess …should I wait till I have the results …I am not very optimistic because iof my age and family history… I really don’t know what to do.

Any suggestion or advice will be welcome.

Btw, my youngest is a Doctor, so perhaps I should tell him and not the others. Please advice…thanks a lot

Hi there Feather,


Its difficult to give advice on this, as everyone feels differently about who to tell and when in the process. I can see that where you are right now, without even your breast clinic appointment completed…you don’t have much to tell them except that you have some very worrying symptoms and some fears of what it might be. You are also concerned that they are all busy, a baby due and lots of their own family commitements. It sounds to me though like you really feel you want to have their emotional support, but as many of us feel, you don’t want to make them worry if everything turns out to be ok.


However, I will ask this question back to you…would they want to know? Would they be cross if you didn’t tell them you have a referral and had been worrying for weeks (even if it DOES turn out to be nothing)? Of course we don’t want to make people worry unneccessarily, but to be honest the hardest part of this whole process is waiting for the referral and having initial tests. Now, is probably exactly the time when it helps to have your family know.


Also, if, (and it is an IF) it turns out to be something that needs treatment then they will need to know anyway. So, maybe an earlier warning now that it ‘could be’ needing treatment is a gentler route into it? Bear in mind that it might not be easy to be ‘normal’ around them over the next couple of weeks, and people have a habit of finding things out (getting them out of you) if you don’t have the dramatic abilities of an A lister lol


Why not start with your doctor child? Then you’ve tested the water and they can help you tell the others? Of course, ultimately its your decision, and its not an easy one. There have been so many threads on here from people in your position asking the same question. x

Hi Feather,


i tend to agree with the lovely Charys,


not much more I could add really, except…and you havent elaborated on your family history…

.but I know this is very hard, but do try not to assume the very worst case scenario…

often and as Charys says IF…there is something  requiring treatment,

…us ladies post menopausal…find whatever it is, is less aggressive,

slower growing, prob because our bodies have a lower level of hormones etc.


so, whatever you decision is, do try and not assume worse case scenario

…we all do it and it will spoil your  days before you find out…just not worth it





Yes Feather, sounds as if telling your doctor don HS a good idea… he will be able to cope with the confidentiality and hopefully to support youxx

Best wishes Mx


Just to tell all you lovely, lovely people, I have told my youngest son.  I rang my daughterinlaw earlier in the day yesterday, to ask her what time my son would be home as I wanted to discuss some health issues with him.  She must have got suspicious .  I had only seen all of them on Sunday.   She asked me to go over by 6pm and have dinner with them.  She is such a sweet girl. I went, but my son was delayed in Hospital.  Anyway, I went over, had a general chitchat with d.i.l. , helped her to give my adorable 23mth old grandson a bath, and tucked him in his cot…came down and we decided to have dinner, rather than wait for my son.  The poor girl works so hard, she is a full tine teacher.  Anyway, my son arrived about 8pm.  She might have already texted him that I was going over re Heath issue,…so the first thing he asked as he entered the room, was “what’s up Mum”…and when I told him, I had an urgent referral to the Breast Clinic, I think he was shocked.  My usual health issue is a “knee pain” or back pain.  He sat down, asked me details and I could see his little face…he is still my baby (40 years old in August ha).  We sort of tried to be positive about it … and I even joked that I may come out of all this with beautiful “big” boobs…I have very small boobs now.  There’s a joke in the family that if my boobs were bigger, my tummy wouldn’t appear to stick oout so much.  Anyway, we had a laugh, he had his dinner.   He and my d i l will hopefully come with me to get the results.  He will be able to understand more as I’m sure I will not be able to concentrate.  

Between us we decided to keep the news secret, until my daughter’s divorce is finalised and my other daughterinlaw.'s baby has arrived .  Both events next month. Will keep you all posted…much love and thanks to all. 

Hi feather,
It is usual practice for referrals to be ‘urgent’ done under the ‘2 week rule’ for any breast changes, so it certainly does not necessarily mean its bc, but only the breast clinic can sort it out. So try not to read anything more into it.
The wait is horrible & the mind goes into overdrive, so try not to think beyond the appointment, it is never as bad as we imagine.
Even IF it is bc, it is very treatable & most of us do not need chemo with an early diagnosis.
do take care
ann x

Hi Feather,


Just wanted to add my support at this anxious time. Please don’t ‘google’, IF it is bc you will be given lots of help and information and you can take one step at a time. Many ladies don’t need the most invasive surgery and treatment as it’s simply not necessary.


Try, if you can, to keep in your normal routine, your appointment will come through soon and then you’ll know what will be necessary.

So glad you have confided in your family, we all need support in difficult times.


Please let us know how you get on.

Love & light

Donna xx

hi feather,
Yes, you’re right about google. As any general search will only ultimately lead to bc & only feed the anxiety monster, often for no good reason, so it’s really best to step away from it. There is a time & place for it, but not usually at this time or IF newly diagnosed.
ann x

Hi Feather,


just wanted to add…and I havent read the article myself…

but my initial diagnosis in 2001 was. 8x7 cms lobular breast cancer…plus 12/13 lymph nodes involved.


i had a mastectomy, rad and TWO loads of chemo…one before the op to try and shrink the lump…and one afterwards to give me a better chance. That was in 2001!


i had letrozole after, and altogether, about 10/12 cancer free years before it returned.


i cant comment on this stufy as i havent read it, but many studies i have read…and I have read a lot, as i worked in public health years ago…many studies are based on populations which arent quite narrow enough…bc and cancer itself is a very difficult thing to measure…there are loads of difference cancers and still more types of populations.   I do read and value research, but only as a rough guide.


best wishes and love,




Update:  Since I had no letter from Breast Clinic, I decided to go to the Surgery this morning to double check when the referral was sent.  To be fair, The GP sent the referral on Monday, but I was a bit taken aback that I was referred to the local Hospital, rather than the one stop clinic, which is a little way away from where I live. I know nothing about the NHS system.  Anyway, the receptionist suggested I ring “first appointments”. Returned home and rang as she suggested.  To cut a long story short, I have an appointment for a mammogram on Wednesday at 9.30.  I thought that because of the discharge, they would straightaway do a needle biopsy.  What do I know?


Bit jittery …can’t concentrate on anything… and if my post is a bit disjointed it’s bcos I am feeling disjointed.


Love and thanks for listening xx

Hi Feather,


Glad that you have an appointment date now, it’s very hard playing the waiting game when you’re expecting a letter so it’s good that you have been pro-active and chased it up.


The hospital will do a mammogram first and possibly an ultrasound before deciding if they need to do a biopsy. This doesn’t always mean that it is bc. Try and keep active tomorrow and in your normal routine if you feel able.


Please let us know how you get on, we’re all here to support.


Sending positive thoughts

Donna xx 


Had my first mammogram this morning…was not painful at all ( never had a mammo before due to fear…very ashamed to admit it) …anyway, the lady said, my results will go to a consultant and I will have an appointment letter in the post.  


Love and thanks for listening xxx

I am copying and pasting my latest news, which I posted on another thread

UPDATE for my lovely, caring “young warriors”.

Nothing sinister found on mammo …Consultant checked me over again. He is almost sure it is a Pappiloma, but because, I still have the occasional bleed, he said he will remove it and as us usual, will send a sample for biopsy. He hasn’t given me a date for the op. It will be under general anaesthetic but as a day case. But he reassured me that it was a benign papilloma. (I would have posted the news earlier, but my shopaholic daughterinlaw decided to spend almost the whole day looking around the shops ha)

Thankyou all so so much for your kindness and concern during the past weeks. I will still be popping in to say hello to you all and see how you are doing. You will never know how much you all meant to me during these past few weeks.

I wanted to to start a new thread, but I don’t know how to do it. I would like to expand a bit further on my symptoms etc and perhaps others who are worried can be reassured, although everyone is not the same.

Lots of love and thanks for listening xxxx

So pleased to hear of your good news Feather! Such a relief for you, I hope you treat yourself to celebrate. Wishing you all the best and glad you found us.


Love Donna.x