“Diagnosed with Secondary Breast Cancer”

“Diagnosed with Secondary Breast Cancer”

Breast Cancer Care’s experts answer your questions about breast cancer and its treatment

PiNK 2018 SPRING p.7

Q: I’ve been diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in my bones and have been told that, although it can be treated, it can’t be cured. I’m finding it difficult to tell my family and friends. Do you have any suggestions?

A: Being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer (when cancer has spread from the breast to another part of the body) can be overwhelming for both you and those around you.

Telling anyone about your diagnosis is never easy, but can be more difficult when you need to tell people closest to you. The fact that your cancer can be treated but not cured is always difficult to explain to others.

There’s no best way to start a conversation. People often arrange to speak with family or friends face to face, but this may not always be possible. Many people find it easier to start at the beginning: when they found a symptom or had a scan, how they were diagnosed and, importantly, that there’s a plan for treatment.

Some people choose to tell a small number of people closest to them and ask for their help to tell others. This can avoid having to repeat the same information many times.
Talking openly and honestly can be very difficult at first but often gets easier as the shock begins to subside. You and the people closest to you might find it helpful to know how breast cancer in the bone is affecting you so they can know what support to offer.

We often instinctively want to protect people closest to us. However, whoever you choose to tell, people will benefit from your honesty. Knowing the facts about your circumstances, as well as how you’re feeling, can help others be honest with you and give you the support you need.