Talking about cancer isn’t easy, but it can help. Breaking the news of a cancer diagnosis can feel daunting, and it might not always feel easy to discuss how you’re feeling, but doing so can lift a weight off your shoulders.
Your loved ones will want to do everything they can to support you, and the act of talking could make you feel less alone during this period. If you’re unsure how to get started, here are some effective strategies for open and honest communication surrounding a cancer diagnosis.
Decide how to share the information
The thought of disclosing a cancer diagnosis to one or more loved ones can feel overwhelming. As you are still coming to terms with the news yourself, you might be worried about when or how to tell your partner, children, parents, or another loved one about the disease.
There is no correct way to inform your family and friends, and you should choose the best option for you during this difficult time. Some people prefer to tell their loved ones face to face, but others might find it easier to share the news via text, email, or letter.
You can decide if you want to be open about your cancer diagnosis or only confide in your closest loved ones. Either way, it is important to be honest about how you’re feeling with the people you love the most, as it can alleviate the emotional burden of cancer and help you build a strong support system.
Ask a loved one for help
Disclosing a cancer diagnosis to many loved ones can feel emotionally and physically exhausting. As you must protect your mental and physical health as much as possible, you could ask your partner, a family member, or best friend for help sharing the news with relatives and friends. Discuss the information you’re happy for them to disclose, as your loved ones will likely have many questions after learning about your diagnosis.
Discussing how you feel with your loved ones might not always feel easy, especially if you are worried about causing additional worry or upset. Yet, the act of talking could help you articulate your emotions and reduce stress.
Many sources of support are available to help you open up about your emotions and even navigate communication challenges with loved ones. Talk to your healthcare team about the best options available when dealing with lymphoma cancer or another type. For instance, you could join a support group, attend talking therapy, or call a cancer support line.
Set boundaries when necessary
Coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis can take time, and you might not feel ready to talk in-depth about it, and that’s fine. If you find having long conversations with loved ones difficult, try to set boundaries. For instance, inform them if you aren’t ready to talk about a treatment, side effects, or a prognosis. If someone has questions regarding the disease, you could politely refer them to a helpful organization to learn more about it.
Maggie Hammond. Proud mama to two little people, and has one too many furry friends. Passionate about alternative medicine, education, the great outdoors and animal welfare.