Family, Friends & Work

Talking to Your Family & Friends About Cancer

Your family, friends and caregivers also need support during this time as, they too, cope with a cancer diagnosis of a loved one.

Explaining a cancer diagnosis to your family and friends can be difficult. How do you tell them? And, how do you expect them to react?

No matter what your reservations may be, the important thing to practice is open communication. It’s up to you how much you want to disclose, but being open about your diagnosis is the first step towards a healthy conversation. Talking and discussing what you’re going through can also help with recovery and adjusting to life during and after treatment.

Emotional support from family and friends can help in numerous ways, including:

  • Reduce anxiety, depression and psychological distress
  • Reduce feelings of pain
  • Improve mood and self-image
  • Improve ability to cope & feelings of control

Learn more about talking with family and friends about cancer at

There are online communities and blogs where you can also share private communication to family and friends regarding your cancer journey. Many patients use it to communicate how treatment is going, and how they are feeling. It’s a quick and easy way to connect with your family and friends, and enable them to reach out to you, if they are not comfortable doing so in person.

Cancer and Intimate Relationships

Oftentimes, cancer survivors and their loved ones can feel isolated or alone. Significant others play an important role in offering support during this challenging time, so it is important to keep communication open and accept the support of others.

Many women find intimacy challenging during gynecologic cancer for reasons such as fatigue and nausea, and self-awareness from physical changes due to treatment. It’s important to speak with your partner, so they understand how you feel.

Learn about common challenges and changes in your intimate relationships during and after gynecologic cancer, and how to work through them. Click here for more information.

Working During Treatment

Whether you’re planning to continue to work during cancer treatment or return to work once treatment is completed, you may find that it either helps you maintain your identity, boosts your self-esteem or you may find it too difficult. Everyone is different, so make sure you make the right decision for yourself.

Various factors play a role in determining if working is right for you, including:

  • Your type of cancer treatment
  • The stage of your cancer
  • Your overall health
  • Fatigue and side effects
  • The kind of work you do

Discuss your thoughts and options with your family as well as with your physician. Everyone’s situation is different.

Read more about working during and after cancer treatment.