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Newly Diagnosed With Cancer

Decide who to tell about your condition, when, and how much to tell.

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Whether to tell people about your condition, when to tell them, and what to tell, depends on the situation and why you are thinking of disclosing the information. The decision is a purely personal one. There is no right and wrong.

In general, there are four situations which give rise to this question. What you decide to do may vary in each situation.  The four situations are:

  • Family, Friends and Acquaintances
  • Children
  • The professionals in your life
  • Work

In each situation, consider:

  • The pros and cons of telling.
  • Preparing before you tell.

There are two givens:

  • Keeping a secret is stressful. The greater the secret, the greater the stress.
  • There is no going back once you tell. As they say: "The cat's out of the bag."

All the literature suggests telling children who live with you. They'll know something is wrong and assume it's their fault.

We strongly encourage telling unless there is an overriding reason not to. Stress hurts the immune system. The immune system is needed to help your body function at its best disease fighting capacity.

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