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Talking to someone

Being told about a cancer diagnosis, you can feel many emotions during your consultation with you Consultant.
However it is vitally important to know anyone going through cancer or you know of a family member with cancer, they are not alone.

You’re not alone.

There’s no right or wrong way to feel about a cancer diagnosis.

Telling your friends, family, colleagues, professionals, can be a difficult time, and knowing when to tell someone, and how to can bring its difficulties as well.

You may choose to tell your closest relatives first, whilst you come to terms with the diagnosis. If you find it difficult to explain the diagnosis with family or friends you may like to ask a person you trust to tell some individuals for you.
Telling them can be difficult, however if they offer support and help, take this in consideration as coping alone can be difficult.

  • Talk to a Specialist Nurse
  • Ask the Specialist to write down vital information
  • Express Yourself- you can always write down thoughts if you find it difficult to talk to someone.
  • Coping with other peoples reactions can be hard- some people just don’t know what to say or how to react.
  • Try not to take it personally or to heart.
  • Reach out to others and accept offers to help.

Cancer can turn an individuals life upside down, an individual may worry for their family, friends, with other aspects to consider, such as work, appearance, financial situation, as well as their own diagnosis.

How to support a friend or family member with cancer

As a family member or friend it can be difficult to know what to say, and an individual may be unsure of what to say or do, knowing they are loved and not alone will help.
Every individual has a different view of cancer, and may not want to talk about it, or may find it difficult. Respect this and give them their privacy.
They may be happy one day and sad the next, try to be mindful of this.

Offer practical solutions such as a cooked meal perhaps, a walk on the beach, help with house chores, offer to drive them to their hospital appointments, offer to do the shopping, offer to take children to and from school.

It has shown that 40-80% of hospital appointments information isn’t retained by an individual. Having a second pair of ears taking notes, or asking questions can help.

  • Allow them to openly talk.
  • Give them a friendly hug or hand squeeze.
  • Put your judgements aside
  • Open body language, silent queues.
  • Listen well and give eye contact.
  • Let them lead the conversation
  • Don’t take things too personally- as they may be very emotional and upset.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk about the illness
  • Don’t assume certain situations
  • Talk to them on the phone, text, send a card.
  • Share a joke and laugh, if this is appropriate.
  • Keep your relationship as normal and balanced as possible.

You don’t need to have all the answers.
Knowing the support is out there, will help with a diagnosis.