Friends

Sadia spent six months in hospital. During this time, she found different ways of keeping in touch with her school friends including games and Skype. In this video, she talks about how important this was. 

Your questions

How can I explain what is happening to me to my friends?

Liz East, CLIC Sargent Social Worker, says:

Your friends may have all kinds of questions to ask you. If you can answer them easily, and you’re happy to, then just tell them whatever you can. Sometimes social workers or nurses go into school and explain to your school friends what is happening so they understand. You may find that once they understand, they won’t feel the need to keep asking questions about your cancer but will just get back to being friends like before. The most important thing is to do what is right for you – it’s okay to say if you don’t want to talk about it or ask an adult to explain on your behalf. 

Can my friends visit me in hospital?

Liz East, CLIC Sargent Social Worker, says:

It depends. The team who look after you at the hospital may not want you to risk catching any illnesses from visitors, as cancer treatment can make you more at risk. Either way, your friends cannot visit if they are unwell, or have been unwell in the past few days. Sometimes you may feel really grotty and not want to see or talk to anyone, and that’s fine. But it’s normal to want to see people from home and if your doctors and nurses say it’s okay, you could get your parent or carer to invite a few friends to come and see you.

How can I let me school friends know what is going on when I am not at school?

Liz East, CLIC Sargent Social Worker, says:

People might send you cards and letters when they find out you are poorly so you can write back to them if you like. If you have a phone, you can also phone or text your friends, or if it’s a smartphone, ask your parent or carer to download apps like Skype or FaceTime so you can see who you are talking to. Some schools can even set up a computer with Skype in the classroom! You could also write updates of how you are that could go on a school message board for your friends to read.

My friends ask me lots of questions about my cancer but sometimes I don’t want to talk about it. What can I do?

Lesley Nicol, a CLIC Sargent Social Worker, says: 

It’s good that your friends are concerned about you and want to know how you are. Sometimes you will want to talk about things relating to your illness, but sometimes you’ll want to talk about other stuff. If you don’t want to talk about it, just ask if you can chat about it later and say what you would like to talk about instead, like what’s going on with them or what’s on telly.

How do I deal with people, including my friends, treating me differently?

Liz East, CLIC Sargent Social Worker, says:

When your friends find out you have cancer, some will want to help you and talk to you. Others may not know what to say or do, or even avoid you. You may also find that some people suddenly start calling you ‘brave’ or feeling sorry for you. Try to be yourself. Let friends and other people know that, yes, you’re having cancer treatment, but you’re still the same old you. Stay in touch with friends, let them know when you’re ready to hang out and do the things you enjoy doing together.

The treatment I’m on means I don’t lose my hair. People don’t realise I’m ill and ask if I can do things I’m not allowed to. How do I tell them without getting upset?

Lesley Nicol, a CLIC Sargent Social Worker, says: 

If you can, try to talk to your friends about what is going on and why you can’t do certain things at the moment. That way, they will also know you are keeping them up to date about how you are. Perhaps when you are feeling okay, you could have your friends round to your house to find out how they are and let them know what is happening with you. You could always practise the things you would like to say with your parents, carers, CLIC Sargent Social Worker or nurse.

Last reviewed: September 2015
Next planned review: 2018

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