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My treatment


Breaking the news to your family and friends about your breast cancer diagnosis may be as difficult as learning about the diagnosis itself.​​​​​​​1 You might feel like you are burdening them or ashamed of having cancer and be worried about how they might react.1 You may also find it difficult asking them for help or support or answering questions about how you are doing.1 These feelings are normal.1



With your spouse or partner, it might be helpful to be clear about your needs and how they can support you.2 They may want to be involved with your medical appointments to gain a better understanding of your disease, treatment options, and side effects you might experience.2 You should also consider your partner’s needs, as they may feel equally lost or overwhelmed.2 Treatment for breast cancer will inevitably impact your body physically, and if you are pre-menopausal, your sex drive might lessen.2,3 Discussing these changes with your partner will help you both while you go through treatment, as your spouse or partner may be concerned about physical intimacy.3



If you have children, telling them about your diagnosis will be challenging, and how much to tell them will depend on their age and maturity.4 It is important to let them know in an age-appropriate manner, as younger children may not need as much detail, and that the cancer isn’t their ‘fault’.4 You can consider letting older children know more details about your diagnosis and anticipate that they might have questions about what the future holds or their risk of developing cancer. Older children may react more emotionally and might be angry or embarrassed.4 Regardless of their age, it can be practical to inform your child’s teachers or school counsellors about the situation, so they can help you know how your child is doing.4


You may not want to announce your diagnosis to all your friends and prefer to keep it to close friends.​​​​​​​5 Deciding on who you want to tell and how much to disclose in advance can help you set limits on communication. It can be overwhelming when many people are asking for updates after your treatment.5 You can consider having a plan on keeping everyone updated, whether with blog posts or through text messages, or to ask your partner to update your friends, so everyone you wish to inform is on the same page.5 Family and friends are also likely to offer help, hence having some specific suggestions in mind might be handy.5


  1. (January 2022). Talking to Your Family and Friends About Breast Cancer. Retrieved from Accessed 23 March, 2022.
  2. (January 2022). Talking to Your Spouse of Life Partner. Retrieved from Accessed 23 March, 2022.
  3. Living Beyond Breast Cancer (n.d.). Talking with family about your metastatic breast cancer. Retrieved from Accessed 23 March, 2022.
  4. (January 2022). Talking to Children. Retrieved from Accessed 23 March, 2022.
  5. (January 2022). Talking to Other Relatives and Friends. Retrieved from Accessed 23 March, 2022.


This health information is provided for reference only and is not intended to replace discussions with a healthcare provider.

All decisions regarding patient care must be made with healthcare provider.