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Telling people about your blood cancer

When and how to tell other people about the diagnosis is completely up to you.

Some people initially prefer to deal with the diagnosis alone. It is worth remembering that in most cases people cope better when they feel they are not dealing with a problem on their own. There is no easy way to deal with sharing the diagnosis but the following ideas may help:

  • Wait until you feel ready to tell people.
  • Think about who should know and tell someone that you trust first.
  • You may want to appoint someone you trust to tell other members of your family and other friends. This might be the same person who keeps loved ones informed during and after treatment, on how they can be of practical help to you and your family. This leaves you to concentrate on the treatment and your own wellbeing.
  • Let people know what works for you. Those around you can be of more help if they understand when you need to talk or when you need some “personal space”.
  • You may wish to use an answering machine to screen your telephone calls for a while. This way you can have more control over when and to whom you wish to speak.

Talking to children about their blood cancer

Children tend to be particularly sensitive to people’s emotions. As such, they may sense that something is not quite right or they may believe that they have done something wrong to upset the other members of their family. In addition, children often take on an exaggerated level of responsibility for things happening around them. It is not easy to tell a child about a diagnosis of cancer. No one knows your child better than you and no one can tell you when or how to tell them about your illness. In general, it is important to have an open and honest approach, giving them as much information as you are comfortable with and that they can understand at the time.

Last updated on May 23rd, 2024

Developed by the Leukaemia Foundation in consultation with people living with a blood cancer, Leukaemia Foundation support staff, haematology nursing staff and/or Australian clinical haematologists. This content is provided for information purposes only and we urge you to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis, treatment and answers to your medical questions, including the suitability of a particular therapy, service, product or treatment in your circumstances. The Leukaemia Foundation shall not bear any liability for any person relying on the materials contained on this website.