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Telling people about your diagnosis

telling peopleWho you tell about your diagnosis, and when, is up to you. If you need to take a few hours, a few days, or more to think about this, that is totally reasonable. Taking your time to prepare and telling others when you feel strong enough to cope with their reaction will help you.

Some people might react more emotionally than you are expecting. This may be because your diagnosis makes cancer a reality for them, rather than something that happens to other people. Others might cry or go very quiet, and some of your friends may drop off the radar for a while because they find your news frightening.

Hopefully, many friends and family members will be supportive and help you get through this difficult time. Your Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) and Target Ovarian Cancer can offer support to your family and friends too so you may want to encourage them to get in touch.

Telling children

Talking to your children or grandchildren about a cancer diagnosis is not easy, whatever their age.

Young children will understand the practical side of things: you have an illness and the doctors are looking after you. You might feel a little bit tired and sad or grumpy, but everyone is doing their best to get you better. The questions they ask can give clues to what is worrying them.

Teenagers may ask for more information and need a little more time to work through their feelings and think about the questions they want to ask.

Take things one step at a time.

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What happens next

This content is primarily taken from What happens next? Our expert guide answers your questions following a diagnosis, providing information on everything from treatment to taking care of yourself, and advice on where to find support in the months ahead.

The information on this page is approved by the Information Standard scheme to ensure that it provides accurate and high-quality information.

Information standrads

Last reviewed: November 2016
Next review: October 2019