How and When to Tell Your Friends That You Have Cancer

In case you have recently been diagnosed with cancer, one of the first things you will probably start thinking about is who you want to tell. After that, you will start to think about the best way to tell your friends that you have cancer, because let’s face it: there is no simple and universally best way to do this. You need to tell this news to the people you want to tell and do it in the way that seems best for you. In order to help you go through this process as easily and painlessly as possible, we will share with you some tips on how to tell your friends that you have cancer.

Prepare them for the news and tell them gradually

When something like this happens to you, then the only thing you want is to just say what you have and get it out of your system. However, when you are supposed to tell such delicate news to people you love and who love you, you want to say it in an appropriate way, in order not to scare them or provoke a stormy reaction. Make sure you prepare them for the news first and then tell them gradually and gently that you have been diagnosed with cancer.

This means that you may initially ask them to take a glass of water and sit down, because you have something important to tell them. Start a story about how you haven’t been feeling well lately, or, if they already know, remind them that something has been happening to you in the past few weeks or months and that you went to check out what’s going on. Of course, make sure you do this in a way that is comfortable and natural for you instead of blindly following some rules, because the most important thing is that you feel good and do it the way it makes sense to you.

Choose the way you tell them the news so that it is comfortable for both you and them

While this kind of news is best communicated in person, you should keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to do this. And don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. We suggest that you choose how to tell your friends that you have cancer in a way that is comfortable for both you and them. Sometimes it will be face to face, and in some cases by phone or letter. Think about what would be right for you, but also what you think would be the best way for that person to receive this kind of news.

Take small breaks while telling them the news

Another piece of advice that can come in handy when trying to tell your friends that you have been diagnosed with cancer is not to tell them a bunch of information at once. While you probably can’t wait to share with them what’s happening to you and everything you’ve heard from the doctor, you should still keep in mind that they probably won’t be able to absorb too much information at once. So we suggest you tell them little by little and take small breaks during which you will let them come together. You can ask them if they have any questions about what you just told them and if they understand what you are trying to say.

Ask them about what they already know about cancer

Another thing that can be helpful to you when you decide to tell your friends that you have been diagnosed with cancer is to ask them what they already know about this disease. This can be practical because it will save you time on telling them things they already know. Let this conversation be two-way if you see that they are ready for it and help them understand those parts with which they were not familiar so far.

Be open and honest

Let’s be realistic: this is not easy information to tell or recieve. However, despite the fact that you may feel the need to sugarcoat some things, it is very important to be completely open and honest with the people you love. The last thing you want is to lie to them to make them feel better. That doesn’t mean you have to be pessimistic and look at things negatively. Of course you need to be positive and look at things from the best possible perspective. Just resist the urge to say things you don’t believe in just to protect your friends’ emotions.

Have understanding

Lastly, it is very important that you have understanding and give them enough time to become aware of what they have just heard. It may take them a few days to come together and finally find a way to keep up with the news you told them. We know that you probably think that it is the hardest for you and that others are the ones who need to have understanding for you, but things are still a little more complex than this. When it comes to people who love you, they can sometimes even find it harder to submit this kind of information than you. So we advise you to have understanding and give people you love enough space to understand what is happening and finally give you the support you need.

And the last thing we want you to keep in mind is that you are not alone in this. In addition to having loved ones by your side: family and friends, there are also many organizations that support people with cancer in a variety of ways. One of them is which partners with charities around the world helping them fundraise and raise cancer awareness.


Telling your friends that you have been diagnosed with cancer is not an easy thing, we know it. There is no right or wrong way to do this – the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and natural and do not blindly follow some rules, even though they make you feel bad. We hope our tips have helped you come up with a plan on how to tell your friends you have cancer. And don’t forget that you should have an understanding for them, because they may need a little time until they are able to give you the support you need.

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