How breast cancer in women affects others

Although some women talked about their illness only with family, many others discussed their diagnosis with people outside the family, including friends, colleagues and neighbours. While it was often difficult telling other people they had cancer, women praised the support and practical help they received from others.

Telling other people you have cancer can be difficult. Ingrid found it helpful to tell a few…

Age at interview 61

Gender Female

Age at diagnosis 58

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Gillians husband told other people that she had cancer. When she spoke to them, they already…

Age at interview 55

Gender Female

Age at diagnosis 51

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Friends often offered support and encouragement, and many women found it helpful to talk with other people. Some women explained how discussing their experiences of breast cancer also raised awareness of the disease.

Several described how they broke the news of their diagnosis to friends, and one woman described how, on hearing about her illness, her church group visited her at home. A few women also discussed the help and support neighbours had given.

Describes the very different responses she got from friends when she told them about her diagnosis.

Age at interview 19

Gender Female

Age at diagnosis 18

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Comments on the advantages of letting people know the truth and on the consequent support she…

Age at interview 59

Gender Female

Age at diagnosis 56

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Several women, however, felt that some people, including friends, reacted with too much shock, as if a cancer diagnosis meant terminal illness, and that their attitude towards them changed. A few felt that friends found the news of their diagnosis difficult to cope with, though other people were unexpectedly supportive.

Explains why peoples reactions towards her diagnosis surprised her.

Age at interview 47

Gender Female

Age at diagnosis 46

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Many women explained that, on learning about their diagnosis, colleagues were helpful and understanding. Some women said they told colleagues themselves about their cancer while others preferred someone else, such as a manager, to relate the news. Women also discussed the support they received from other patients, some of whom became good friends (see Support groups).

Explains that she asked her boss to tell colleagues about her illness, and that she received a…

Age at interview 52

Gender Female

Age at diagnosis 48

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