It may be difficult to tell your children that you have breast cancer. They may be too small to know what it means. It would be better if you are the first one to share about your condition, and there is always a chance that they understand.

What to tell your children

What you should tell your children may depend on their age. Children under 8 years old will not need too much information while those from 8 to 12 and teens need more. But they should all be told some basic information:
  • You are diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • You breast and even other parts of your body are affected.
  • What are the possible treatment for your disease?
  • How can breast cancer affect your life?
It is important to plan what and how to tell each child about your condition and make it in the easiest way. Keep communicating with your child to know about their wonder, feelings, and fears. Encourage your children to ask; you then know what they are thinking. So you can comfort them during and after breast cancer treatment.
There are four main points you might repeatedly say to your child:
  • No one causes your breast cancer. Your child may think that their behaviors and results at school lead to your disease. Guilty as they may feel that they will keep asking you whether their thinking is true. Tell them that no one makes cancer happen.
  • The children or the other parent cannot get cancer like catching flu. Some children may be afraid that they and other family members can get breast cancer from you as a cold or flu. You should explain that breast cancer cannot be passed from person to person. They do not have to worry that someone else can catch cancer from one another.
  • The whole family will stay together to fight against breast cancer. This is a battle. The children, the other parent and you will fight together. Everyone tries their best.
  • You still love them and care for them. Even you are sick and may not have much time with your child, you will love them to the end of your life.

What if your child asks if you are going to die?

This question can be distressing, but most children will have it in mind. You should prepare the answer to this question. Sometimes, your children may be afraid to ask, hence you should create for both of you the comfortable atmosphere to share. Here are some ways you can answer them.
  • If your breast cancer can be cured: The doctors have told me that there are many good and effective treatments. And breast cancer usually gets better with these treatments.
  • If your breast cancer has already spread to other parts of the body: My cancer is difficult to treat. However, you and I cannot know what is going to happen in the future. So do not worry about it. You and I can work on that together.

Tips for telling your child

Although it may be hard to tell your children about your condition, you still have to. Remember to:
  • Keep it simple
  • Be honest
  • Choose proper time and place
  • Be clear
  • Be positive.
Getting to know about your breast cancer can be difficult to the children, and they may even feel distressed and upset about your disease. Thus, it is important to know how to tell them and help them understand about your cancer. Be honest, clear, and positive.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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