How do I tell my friends and family that my child has cancer?

There’s some advice you need that you can only get from those who’ve been there. That’s why we’ve asked parents who’ve been through similar experiences to share their thoughts on topics that you’ve told us you’d like tips, advice and guidance on.

Unsure how to tell friends and family about your child’s diagnosis? Take a look at the tips from other parents below.

Ask for help 

It’s difficult to find the time and energy to share the news with everyone, so it can be really helpful to ask people to trust to take this on for you.  

We told a few important people and asked them to disseminate the news and updates so we didn’t need to keep repeating difficult conversations.

Ask a trusted other to deal with all but the closest people.

Be honest  

Speaking honestly about what you are going through can help you share your anxieties and concerns and help others understand what you’re going through.  

You might find it useful to read tips from other parents on how to manage stress and anxiety after your child’s diagnosis.

Be honest and tell them what you need and how you feel and ask them to do the same.

Tell them how they can help 

It’s often difficult for friends and family to understand how they can help and support you. Being honest about what you need can help both of you work together to help your child in the best way.  

We have tips on how to help a friend whose child has cancer, that you might find useful to share with others.  

People really struggle with not knowing what to do.

Reassure them although everything is uncertain, how they can help now.

Using social media  

Making use of social media and other channels can really help if you need to keep a large number of people in the loop. But it might be worth thinking about this properly beforehand because people may ask questions you might not feel ready to answer yet.  

We had a secret Facebook group for family and friends (specifically those that lives abroad) where we could post updates on my daughters progress so everyone could get the same news.

We’ve asked parents to share their tips and advice from their own experiences and what they’ve found helpful. But if you are worried about how to tell your friends and family, talk to your social worker or treatment team who will be able to give you more advice and guidance. 

You can find out more about managing family life and cancer from CCLG.