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To tell or not to tell…. My family

beginagain22 Member Posts: 100
edited February 2022 in Waiting for Test Results

Hi All,

I am 48 years old and had a biopsy yesterday following a mammogram call back. I was sent for a diagnostic mammogram in January. They obviously still didn’t like the view. I was sent for an ultrasound and then a biopsy this last Friday. Waiting on results. My oldest is 26 (daughter) and my youngest is 4 (daughter) I also have a 14 year old son.The 4 year old was adopted last year. I don’t know about telling my oldest or telling my mother who I am very close too. I don’t want to worry them but I don’t want to exclude them either.I also worry that something will inadvertently be said in front of the younger kids. I guess selfishly, I am worried I may have to prop them up emotionally and I am not sure I have it in me right now. Thoughts?


  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
    edited February 2022

    Hi. There are a lot of different approaches to this, and what works for someone else might not work for you. You'll have results within a few days, so until then, you don't really know anything, right? Most -- something like 80% of -- biopsies come back with benign results.

    Do you older daughter or your mom live in your home with you? Do either of them have a tendency to *react* a lot, or are they more open or logical or nonreactive? Do you feel like either or both of them might require your emotional support?

    When I found out I had cancer, my husband was with me, but we did not tell our adult children until after meeting with the breast surgeon and oncologist, a few days later. We wanted to have more solid info about what was likely to happen, so we could do better at answering their questions. And we didn't tell other family members for awhile after that.

    Other people will likely chime in with their own approaches. Good luck with the biopsy results. Please let us know.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,884
    edited February 2022

    BeGinagain22, we're sorry you find yourself in this situation, but glad you decided to join our community! You may find some helpful information in this article from the BCO main site: Talking to Your Family and Friends About Breast Cancer.

    We hope this helps and we look forward to hearing more from you soon! Heart

    The Mods

  • wondering44
    wondering44 Member Posts: 252
    edited February 2022


    I have two children who were 18 and 21 at the time of diagnosis. I did not share with them until after I met with BS and MO. My husband and I decided to do it at the dinner table (where we talk a lot) once I was ready.

    My children have expressed their dissatisfaction in my waiting to let them know about my dx.

    I don't know which way is better. :-)

    I hope you get benign results. Keep us posted.

  • typhoon
    typhoon Member Posts: 59
    edited February 2022

    I didn't tell anyone until I got the diagnosis, and then I only told immediate family - with the caveat that I would not be able to answer their questions until after I had met with the surgeon, which meeting took place three days after I was diagnosed. Prior to diagnosis I didn't want to worry anyone unnecessarily (I was worried enough for all of us!), and after diagnosis I really didn't want to engage in speculation, or open the floor to a lot of input on what I should do, from well-meaning family members. Once I had a treatment plan in place, I told my family about my decision and my friends/co-workers/other important people in my life about my diagnosis and the treatment plan. It's been my experience that people handle things better when you say, "I have problem X, and here is what I am doing to deal with/resolve problem X." An open-ended "I have problem X..." can prompt loved ones to dive into the scary unknown and consult with Dr. Google to "help" you try to resolve the problem, whereas announcing both the problem and the plan to deal with it at the same time allows your loved ones to focus on supporting you and the path you've chosen.

    As MountainMia said, what works for someone else may not work for you. I hope your biopsy results are benign, and that this whole issue becomes a purely academic exercise for you.

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,068
    edited February 2022

    I agree with those waiting until they had a diagnosis tell and even a firm plan in mind for the steps forward. If you can manage to handle the anxiety of waiting, I'd say hold off. If you need a hand to hold (certainly a valid need), I would tell only the most dependable, responsible person - maybe your Mother. But since you're worried about having to 'prop them up', maybe tell just one trusted friend and ask her to hold it in confidence for now.

  • beginagain22
    beginagain22 Member Posts: 100
    edited February 2022

    Thank You! As a planner, this approach makes sense to me. I am the rock that the rest of my family comes to in times of trouble. Sharing this with anyone is difficult because the last thing I want is anyone to feel sorry for me. If I share it is because I feel that you need to know because it’s family or because I may not be at my usual Rock Star level and should give advance notice of being a little less than.

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
    edited February 2022

    You for sure sound like a Rock Star. You always will be.

  • whatnow
    whatnow Member Posts: 20
    edited February 2022

    I have been through a prolonged scare (back when results were sent by mail and took weeks), and a cancer diagnosis, and now I am awaiting testing for the possibility of a stage IV diagnosis. I can honestly say the first one, the scare, was the hardest. I had a long time to wait, not much knowledge, and no experience. So I decided not to tell anyone. That can be just as hard a decision as it is to share. Some can consider it a passive-aggressive choice. I know I was livid when I found out my sister had full-on dementia but her husband didn’t tell anyone else in the family. But it turns out that it was only a scare, so I am happy I did not share it. But I did share news when I actually had news from the biopsy (instead of just suspicions). At that point, I did need support, and people would know anyway because I would be off work undergoing several procedures.

    So everyone enters this journey at a different starting point, and our steps from there are also different. We are all different people and our loved ones will react differently. So only you can decide, but we share our experiences from the other side of the event, in case it helps. You can see that most of us say the waiting is the worst part and it truly is. Right now, I am awaiting another oncology referral due to a lousy CT scan 17 years after my first diagnosis! I am shocked, and impatient, and it enters my mind again every hour of every day. But I have chosen not to share it with anyone unless I have an unequivocal pathology report in hand. This is just what works for me. All the best to you as you continue to wait.

  • sadwife
    sadwife Member Posts: 4
    edited February 2022

    I totally agree with all the posts saying wait until you know for sure and have a plan. I had a papilloma that had to be removed but my family wasn't going to be able to help in any way as they are thousands of miles away. Telling them would mean that I would also have to shoulder the burden of consoling them. My husband and I decided to keep it to ourselves. I only told a couple of my close friends just to vent and I am glad I did. They supported me through the whole journey in different ways.