You are here: Home General Nearing End Of ... How To Talk With Family ...
Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.

Nearing End Of Life From Breast Cancer

How To Talk With Family And Friends

Next » « Previous


It can be very hard to talk about nearing end of life and about death.  However, studies show that cancer care goes more smoothly when everyone stays open and talks about the issues. Many people are reassured and comforted by sharing feelings and taking the time to say what they need to.

Knowing that people cope with news in their own way will help everyone deal with their emotions. 

Decide which of your family and friends you want to tell about your health situation. There is no right or wrong. However, keep in mind that:

  • People need to know what is going on in order to be supportive.
  • Keeping a secret is stressful. The greater the secret, the greater the stress.
  • Children will likely sense a shift. They will assume they have done something wrong. Consider telling them in an age appropriate manner. Assure them they will be okay.

Your loved ones may need time to adjust to the new stage of your illness. They need to come to terms with their own feelings. Their feelings may include confusion, shock, helplessness, fear, sadness or anger. Let them know that they can offer you comfort just by being themselves and by being at ease with you. Ask them to listen when you need it, rather than try to solve every problem.

Remind people that you are still the same person you always were. Let them know if it's all right to ask questions or tell you how they feel. Sometimes just reminding them to be there for you is enough.

Some families have trouble expressing their needs to each other. Other families simply do not get along with each other. If you don't feel comfortable talking with family members, ask a member of your health care team to help. You could also ask a social worker or other professional to hold a family meeting. This may help family members feel safer to express their feelings openly. It can also be a time for you and your family to meet with your team to problem-solve and set goals.

Don't be surprised if relationships change. Many people have trouble coping with their own painful feelings. Not everyone can handle the thought that they might lose you. Other people may not know what to say to you or do for you. 


  • If you haven’t before, now is the time to have a discussion with your Healthcare Proxy (the person you appoint under a Healthcare Power Of Attorney to speak for you about medical care decisions if you become unable to communicate your self). Let him or her know your general feelings about matters so he or she has guidelines to help make decisions. Also let the person know that we ahve information about how to enforce a Healthcare Power of Attorney and other Advance Directives.
  • Consider making contact with other people in a similar situation. You can do this through a support group (in person, on line or over the telephone), a self help group (also available in person, on line or over the telephone) or with an individual such as a Cancer Buddy.

For more information, see:

Please share how this information is useful to you. 0 Comments


Post a Comment Have something to add to this topic? Contact Us.

Characters remaining:

  • Allowed markup: <a> <i> <b> <em> <u> <s> <strong> <code> <pre> <p>
    All other tags will be stripped.