Hi, I’m Meghan, I’ve only just turned 19 and I’ve stomach cancer. I’m still in shock from finding out and I’ve only disclosed this to my family but I have to tell some friends and I’ve no clue how to. I’m afraid that I’m going to lose them or they’ll just become very distant with me and I understand the distancing part because it’s hard for them to take it in but I’m just worried I won’t have them to turn to. I’m starting treatment this week and I guess I could use their support. Sorry for the babble. Just sort of needed to let this out.
Diagnosed with cancer at the age of 19
thank you for your message, I am sorry to hear of your recent diagnosis. You may worry about telling your friends and how their reaction may be, in some circumstances your friends may feel very uncomfortable as they are unsure what to say as a response. All of this aside if your friends are genuine and have your best
interest at heart, they will be shocked at first and not know what to say. But after realising the importance of the situation they will be able to give you great support.
Even if it is just having a cup of tea and a chat or bringing you to an appointment or even letting you have a little cry on their shoulder. For all these reasons it is so important to not only have your family but also your friends at such a difficult time.
There are situations and tips on how to tell your friends such news, which may make it easier for you.
We would advise
1 telling your friends in a safe environment, somewhere quiet and private in case they or you get upset.
2 don’t blurt it straight out, introduce the subject for example “ I have something to tell you ……….
3 find out what they know already, your friends may already know something is wrong. Maybe ask them this before starting the conversation.
4 give small amounts of information at a time, to let them process it. Ask them throughout the conversation if they understand and have they any questions.
Hopefully these tips may help if you choose to tell your friends. If you would like to talk to a nurse about how you may be feeling and advise on coping please contact us on our Nurseline number 1800200700.
May I also suggest the following forums for young adults with cancer. You may find it helpful to discuss with others in a similar situation:
Youcan ireland via facebook is linked here. Canteen Ireland is linked here and the UK Teenage Cancer trust here.