Telling others

Sharing news of the diagnosis can be difficult; some people feel uncomfortable talking about personal matters. You may want to protect your loved ones. You could be unsure how family/whānau and friends will react. Being able to share your anxiety and fear can make you feel stronger and help you through difficult times. Sharing the news may bring you closer together.

Talking about your feelings to a good listener could be helpful. Try to identify those of your family/whānau and friends who are comfortable with this. You may find that talking about cancer is not as difficult as you had anticipated.

Trying to hide the diagnosis is usually unsuccessful. Sooner or later, family/whānau and friends will learn that you have cancer.

Most people will be aware that something is troubling you or they’ll notice changes in your behaviour or appearance.


  • Tell people about the diagnosis when you feel ready and in a way that you feel comfortable with.
  • Ask for help.
  • Family/whānau or friends may be able to tell others what is going on if you can’t.
  • Be prepared for questions but draw boundaries. After hearing you have cancer, people want more details, such as what treatment you are having. You don’t have to share every detail with everyone.
  • Group emailing and texting can be a convenient and less tiring way to communicate.
  • Be selective about who you listen to and what advice you take.

“It’s hard to think about talking when you are diagnosed. You feel so overwhelmed with your own feelings that it is hard to share the diagnosis in a calm and controlled way. Try to allow yourself time to collect your thoughts.” Arama

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