To tell or not to tell?

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Hi All

I have deliberated for ages about whether to tell people about Anal Cancer diagnosis and treatment as its very personal and didn't want it to be the only topic of conversation. I am open and friendly but this is something else isn't it.

However, after seeing the Consultant and a planning call today I have got my head a bit straighter.  

I have kept quiet for weeks and avoided some good friends by literally hiding and pretending I haven't seen them, didn't answer calls etc. 

The best chat with a friend today was discussing how others can support us and this is why I came to the conclusion that sharing is fine.  We are allowed to be looked after, information is education and to be honest if someone else can benefit from knowing it has to be a good thing.

This forum is levelling, helpful and a god send all in one. 

Thank you Angie x 

  • Hi Angie I didn't tell people at first and it is up to you when and how you tell people but when I started treatment t and people were asking where u was andtheyd not seen me for a while my friends the o es who knew then told people I still didn't tell people I'd not seen for a while .its up to you when you tell people and how you deal with it .I know have to deal with losing my hair  as I'm having g chemo and you don't lose your hair with chemoradiotherapy .xx

  • Very true - I am feeling very fortunate as have never had anything wrong before so apprehensive.  Hair going must be hard - sending good wishes and strength x 

  • Thank you I was told I would lose it but a shock when it happens I have an appointment for a wig next week .Good luck with your treatment xx

  • Ah thank you!  I was talking with a good friend who is 6 years cancer free now who lost their hair and it knocked their confidence so get help and get the wig.  No one else will know as with them years ago - it looked good even when with a hat. Keep going and sending luck for you too x 

  • Many thanks for your words of support xx

  • Hi Angie , 

    I have 4 days left of treatment and it’s a personal choice to who and when you tell . I decided to tell family and very very close friends .. Eventually some people wanted to know where I was , and I said “ not around for a few weeks “

    a friend posted her cancer journey on Facebook , she was inundated with offers of help .. I preferred the  inner circle way … this has given me a chance to isolate , get more informed and not to answer questions .. we are all different but this forum has been my sanctuary…. No question , no judgement , no explanation.. love and support

    take care 


  • I totally agree like you said were all different 

  • It is a very personal decision…I find this cancer comes with stigma b/c of its link to HPV. I do tell people…for me I was to increase awareness. Sharing with friends would hopefully be a safe place for you and would likely increase your support system for helping to get through this. Very individual. 

  • Hello Angie

    How much to tell is a subject that comes up on the forum quite regularly and there are quite a few opinions!

    When I was first diagnosed I didn't even want my daughters to know, which staggers me now as I had six months systemic chemotherapy first and I lost all my hair.  Imagine hiding that in a close family!  And wearing a hat labelled me in a way that I had to come to terms with, I would see glances from neighbours and scuttle past as I didn't want to engage in conversation.  The odd thing was that the less I knew a person, when I did eventually meet others, the more personal the questions.  Those near and dear to me were just concerned about me and didn't want to know all the details if I wasn't up to it.

    I told people I had rectal cancer - which suited me, it was sort-of true as my tumour was in the rectum, and a few I told anal cancer.  One forum user said she kept it private as it wasn't on her remit to educate people when she was just getting through treatment, and I totally got that.

    In the main people are really supportive and the 'C' word fades off their radar as time passes, you get through the treatment and are looking well.  Except if you were the recipient of the diagnosis, then cancer is never far from our thoughts.

    I am really happy to hear you have supportive friends and I hope you are doing well.

    Irene xx

  • Indeed all of the above comments are the swinging to tell and not that I deliberated - My reasoning is that I have told family now as I have one sister and her lovely family, my husband and two step children who are grown and live away.   My husband needs support so told two of his friends and some of my closest friends - then the consultant meeting came and the planning meetings and suddenly I felt more in control instead of scared and not sure what to say - I won’t be publishing or blogging anything but it feels good to have explained that my medical situation is not to be the topic of conversation all the time! My friends and family need to tell me their life excitement and I can share what I wish too x 

    I so understand the stranger personal questions though they need to learn compassion and care x 

    good night Heart