Talking With Family & Friends About Cancer Diagnosis

The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: January 26, 2012

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Question

Can you help me in how to talk to my friends and family about my diagnosis of such a personal issue?

Answer

Tracy Lautenbach, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, Oncology Social Worker at Penn Medicine, responds:

Speaking with family and frineds may seem scarey but remember that if you dont share with them what is going on or how you are feeling then those people can not provide you support.Start out by confiding in a few people who you are very close to- family or friend. Tell them whatever you are comfortable sharing. It does not have to be a long discussion.

If you need help with this I recommend you speak to an Oncology Social Worker as part of your healthcare team to get some ideas about how to get started. Also, joining a support group is another way to gain ideas from others about how to get feel more at ease with sharing.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Focus on Gynecologic Cancers transcript.