Head and neck cancer

A place for people affected by head and neck cancers, including oral, throat , larynx (voice box), salivary glands, middle ear, and sinus and nasopharyngeal cancer. Support one another, ask questions, and share experiences.

Telling your family you have cancer

Beesuit
Posted by

Hi I’ve just seen your profile. It’s really hard deciding how to tell your family especially if there is already grief over the loss of somebody close. I waited to tell my daughter (who has health anxiety) until I had a treatment plan but then she lives abroad and I Skyped her. It’s more difficult if you see each other on a regular basis. I think if that were the case I would have said something much earlier because it’s difficult to hide what you feel and to disguise all the hospital visits. 

The good news is that oropharyngeal cancer is eminently curable and there are lots of us here, of all ages, to attest to that. 

Hopefully other people much wiser than me will pop in to help. 

Goid luck and stay with us for support. There’s plenty here

Dani
Squamous Cell Carcinoma base of tongue diagnosed September 2018. T2N0M0. 67Gy radiotherapy over six weeks December/January 2018/19
The blog is my personal cancer journey, warts and all. 

madaboutmutts
Posted by

Hi

Its very difficult to predict how family will react.  Our two daughters are completely different and dealt with my husband's diagnosis of tonsil/BOT cancer very differently.  The eldest went into practical mode, and initially the younger (both adults, older than yours) was in complete denial and cut herself off.  This didn't last too long, she just needed time to get her head around it.  In the event both came up trumps and were so supportive- we couldn't have survived the experience without them.  We found it best to involve them completely, they both came to the first MDT meeting when the treatment plan was outlined and they found that very helpful. We had gone through a terrible 6 months previous to diagnosis when my husband had a dreadful RTA and head injury and almost died, so we were all in quite a fragile state.   You know your family better than anyone, be prepared for unexpected reactions.  Personally we found the more informed they were, the better they dealt with it.  Husband had all clear last month.  Good luck!

B

Ron51
Posted by

For me that was the worst thing about it and not just telling the family, on hindsight (I wish we could have it before we open our mouths) I think the word cancer is the problem and should be at the end and not the first word you say as people just shut down and don't hear the rest where you tell them you have a really good chance to survive it all and just get stuck with cancer and dying, so miss the rest, I would say start with I have a lump or something similar and not I have cancer. 

Babs1969
Posted by

Totally agree with Ron 

My hubby was diagnosed 22 Nov 19 with secondary to 1 lymph node in NEC. Unknown primary at the time. I remember my husband and I coming away from the hospital and thinking how do we tell the kids ?? Being 31, 27 and 22 year old son's. So we came home and I rang them to come round . 2 arrived , 1 lives away . I myself broke the news to them as for about 3 days my hubby couldn't even say the word - Cancer without breaking down.

They took it really well , but I had prepared them as I had a high suspicion of what the results were due to all the tests, scans etc preceding this. I'm also medical too .

The middle son who lives away , found out him and his partner are expecting a baby on the day my hubby got results - but kept the news to themselves until Christmas day when we were all together. 

My youngest son had a suspicious testicular lump , until this week when the results are in - no concern at all. A cyst they believe.

We also lost my hubbys dad to lung Cancer in August last year so as you can imagine telling my hubbys step mum was not easy. Yes she cried, she is dealing with her husband's death and now her step son's diagnosis , BUT as a family we are getting through this and will continue to do so. No one knows your children like you do. They might just surprise you. Mine did and continue to do so x

Continue to return ANYTIME this group is fantastic , always here . So much tips, support and wisdom. 

They really have been there, seen it, done it and are now wearing the t- shirt.

Big Love

Lisa x x

Baby steps

B69
Cyberkat
Posted by

Thank you for your thoughts and advice x trying to get them together at the same time is gonna be a task too x I’m glad I joined group now think i thought I was on my own in this at first but now I know I’ve somewhere to come to . Thanks 

One day at a time 
Beesuit
Posted by

You could choose just one or two people to tell the rest of the family. My husband told his side of the family and I told my daughter and sister separately. 
I hope you’re getting your head round it all. It’s not easy. 

Dani
Squamous Cell Carcinoma base of tongue diagnosed September 2018. T2N0M0. 67Gy radiotherapy over six weeks December/January 2018/19
The blog is my personal cancer journey, warts and all. 

madaboutmutts
Posted by

Yes  I do hope reading through this forum has shown you that there are very positive outcomes with this condition. It's difficult and a supportive and informed family can help enormously.  Good luck - they will probably surprise you!

B