Part of coming to terms with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer means telling family and friends about it. However, whom you choose to tell, when you tell them, and how you tell them are decisions that only you can make. Be prepared for a wide range of reactions, don't be afraid to ask for help, and consider setting up a Web site to keep everyone in the loop on your treatment and prognosis.
Where to Start
Accepting a diagnosis of ovarian cancer is a hard realization to come to after dealing with the shock and denial that this can't possibly be happening to you. Once you start to accept that this is the road you are on, it can be difficult to fathom how to go about telling your family and those closest to you. Trying to figure out whom to tell and how to do it can be a heartbreaking and difficult decision to make.
First off, don't feel pressured that you need to tell anyone until you are ready to do so. Wait until you are ready. Receiving your diagnosis opened a floodgate of emotions that you have had to try to wrap your head around. There is no recommendation on when the time will be right for you -- each person is different in when they choose to tell their family and friends. When you decide the time is right, it will be the right time.
Some women may have the initial thought that if they don't tell anyone, it makes the reality of the situation easier to bear. This is part of the denial phase of your journey -- if no one knows, then it isn't really happening. Pretending like everything is okay will only cause more loneliness as you try to face your treatment without support from those who care about you. Don't deny them the chance to offer support. But don't feel rushed either. You will know when the time is right and when you may need the support the most.
American Cancer Society. Telling your family and friends (July 18, 2012). American Cancer Society Web site. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/emotionalsideeffects/copingwithcancerineverydaylife/a-message-of-hope-telling-family-and-friends. Accessed August 8, 2013.
National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC). Communicating with children (2013). NOCC Web site. Available at: http://www.ovarian.org/caregivers_communicating_with_children.php. Accessed on August 8, 2013.
American Cancer Society. Talking with friends and relatives about your cancer (May 30, 2013). American Cancer Society Web site. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/treatment/understandingyourdiagnosis/talkingaboutcancer/talking-with-friends-and-relatives-about-your-cancer. Accessed August 8, 2013.
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