Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Skip to main content


How to talk to family and friends about your diagnosis

Breast Cancer diagnosis mammogram


After you are diagnosed with cancer, you may be concerned about sharing your news with your friends and family.

Often, patients feel conflicted about sharing their cancer diagnosis, thinking about how it will affect those in his or her life.

It is important to know, however you share your news and with whomever you decide to share it – it is entirely up to you.


Share your diagnosis on your own terms

Sharing news about your cancer diagnosis is extremely personal. Some people may just want to tell a very close support circle while others may want to make one announcement to everyone. Still others choose to post on social media and provide regular updates throughout their journey. 

However you decide to share the information, know that it is entirely up to you. Make sure you feel comfortable with what information you share and then determine how you prefer to share it.

“Some women may decide to assign a good friend or one of their adult children to share the news and the updates, especially if the patient decides to allow information on social media,” said Diana Dickson-Witmer, MD, of Beebe Breast Surgery. “It can take some of the stress of cancer treatment off of the patient if they do not also feel responsible for making regular updates.”


Tips for talking about your diagnosis

Broaching the subject of your cancer diagnosis can be difficult. Again, start the conversation how it is comfortable for you, but here are some tips:


  • Sit down with your close loved ones and allow for questions
  • Set a virtual call with your close friends
  • Be prepared to not know the answers to all of their questions, but let them know questions are OK
  • Consider having a notebook nearby to write down questions that you will want to ask your doctor or care team
  • Understand this is emotional and be open with your own fears
  • Talk about how you hope to handle travel to and from treatments and ask for help if you want to.

Your care team can also help talk to you about answering questions from friends and family. Understand your friends and loved ones want what is best for you, even if it seems like a barrage of questions. If you have concerns about talking to loved ones, bring those up at your next appointment and our team will be able to provide tips and resources.

If you have immediate concerns, call our Breast Health Nurse Navigators at 302-645-3630