How To Talk To Your Family About Cancer | Cancer Tips

Going through cancer is hard enough. But trying to talk about it to your loved ones can be pretty tough too.

Cancer is still one of those weird taboo subjects, even though half of the population is affected by it. The truth is that people become very awkward around things they don’t know too much about, and that even includes your nearest and dearest.

If you’re finding it tricky to talk to others about what you’re going through, here are my top tips to help you out.

Don’t hold it all in

When you’re going through cancer treatment, everything seems like such a big effort. Your energy is at an all-time low, and you’re still trying to keep up with work, family, and general life.

The old saying – a problem shared is a problem halved – is valid here. You might feel you don’t want to worry your loved ones and that’s fair. But if you’re able to be honest about how you’re feeling, it can make conversations about cancer a lot easier.

Think about who would be best to speak to about different elements of your experience. For instance, you might speak to one person about the side effects of treatment, while with someone else, it might be your concerns about work. Spreading it out like this can help you feel that you’re not overwhelming anyone.

Photo by Anete Lusina on

Have the conversation

It is so much easier to have a difficult conversation when you’re not looking someone directly in the eye. Rather than sitting down for a coffee, why not suggest going for a drive or a walk instead?

It takes the intensity out of it, and allows you both to say what’s on your mind without having to see the other person’s expression.

If you’re someone who does it all, for example, you might struggle asking for help with errands. Don’t see it as a sign of weakness. Your family will want to know how they can support you, and hearing it directly from you can sometimes be just what they need.

Only share with those you feel comfortable with

You may well have people within your family who ask you plenty of questions because they’re just a little bit too nosy.

Don’t feel you have to tell everyone everything. Open up to those you want to open up to, and tell the others that you’d rather not talk about it.

Let your family know what you want to talk about

If you don’t see your family that often, they might swoop in with questions about your treatment or discussions about cancer, when all you really want to know is to how their new job is going or what they did on their latest holiday.

Tell them that they don’t have to be afraid of moaning about things in their own lives, and you want to maintain the relationship you’ve always had with them.

Hope this helps,

Allie x


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