How to Tell Your Family That You Have Cancer

Advice on How to Tell Your Family That You Have Cancer

Tell Your Family That You Have CancerWhen breast cancer survivor Tamara Severin got a phone call telling her that her biopsy was positive, one of her first thoughts was how she was going to break the news to those closest to her.

The first person she shares this news with was her husband. She stayed strong for him as she shared the diagnosis with him. She said to him calmly, “You know what I am not the first woman to go through this.”

This wasn’t the only person she shared the news with. She shared it with her son, mother and her closest friends. Watch the video below to see how she was able to tell her family about being diagnosed with breast cancer.


Tamara Severin:  When I got the phone call telling me that the biopsies were positive and I had breast cancer, not only in one breast, but in both, of course that is shocking news and I thought okay how am I going to tell the rest of the gang this, so what I did of course I told my husband in person and he was shocked and I remember thinking, well I have to be strong for him, so I didn’t get really emotional when I told him I just said.  You know what I am not the first woman to go through this and then I told my son who was 12 going on 13 at the time and that was a little more shocking.  It was more important for me to tell him that mom was going to be okay and that I wasn’t the only woman in the world and this was not something that was not unfortunately common with a lot of woman these days.  Then, I made an awkward call which was to my mom.  For the rest of my very close friends, I wrote an e-mail and I did that to give them a chance to absorb the information and not just react to me on the phone.  Also, I did not want to have seven different conversations on the phone.  I wanted to put into the e-mail everything that I already knew because I did a little research before I actually put together the e-mail and I guess I reassured them that I was still going to be the strong proactive woman and friend that they knew and that I could use any support they wanted to give me and I sent it late at night, so I did not want to make them feel, they just got this e-mail at 2 o’clock in the afternoon and another whole day is thrown off or do they have to immediately respond, so I sent it late at night, so they would get it at some point the next day.  Some people responded right away, some people picked up the phone and called me which was fine, some people did not respond for a few days and of course I did not know whether they just had not received the e-mail or they were still thinking through how they wanted to respond, so for me it was the best way to let a large number of people know.  Then, I had a very dear friend, Laura who put together a way that she would let everybody else know, how I was doing.  So, I didn’t have to tell everybody I knew at the same time people who were interested could touch base with her and she would fill them in on doctor’s appointment and things like that, but initially I used technology and I sent an e-mail and it worked out to be probably the best for me and for them.