Telling other people

Lots of parents say how difficult they find telling friends and relatives that their child has cancer. And yet it's important that you don't put it off. The people closest to you can be a huge source of strength and support to your family at this difficult time and throughout your child's cancer treatment.

Many people find that support from other friends and acquaintances can be really helpful too. People you are not quite so close to can offer practical help when things are difficult. 

Everyone is different, but you may find it helps to be open and honest about your child's illness and treatment. Although it can be daunting, telling others may help you to make sense of the situation yourself and feel more in control.

When telling others about your child’s diagnosis:

  • Start by thinking about who needs to know and then who you need to speak to personally
  • Don’t feel you need to tell everyone everything at once
  • Is there someone you can ask to let others know on your behalf?
  • You may find it easier to break the news over the phone
  • Start by saying something like: 'I’m afraid I’ve got some worrying news…'
  • Tell your friend or relative what's happening a few sentences at a time – like you, they won't be able to take in too much in one go
  • Try not to be upset if they don't seem to know what to say, this is very normal to begin with.

If necessary your CLIC Sargent Social Worker can help with telling other people. They can also offer support to any family members who are finding it particularly difficult to cope with the news.

Reviewed November 2015, next planned review 2016.