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How to Have a Conversation About Breast Cancer

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how-to-have-a-conversation-about-breast-cancerHere are some breast cancer conversation tips to have with someone recently diagnosed.

Your first thought might be to send a sympathy card to someone recently diagnosed. But, once you get home and you open the card to write a nice message, it's really hard to find something to say to someone who was just diagnosed with breast cancer.

But, many find out the news face-to-face with the person and you don’t have time to ponder what you should say. We've got some tips on how to have a conversation about breast cancer whether your loved one was recently diagnosed or if someone has been fighting the cancer battle for quite some time.

Breast Cancer Conversation Tips

  • If you’re at a family gathering and you already know about the devastating news, don’t try to avoid eye contact. Go up to them and acknowledge that you heard the news and wanted to talk for a few minutes. Offer a hug or an arm around their shoulder when you approach them.
  • “How did you find out?” or “What symptoms made you get checked by a doctor?” The most important part of this conversation will be about playing the listening role. Don’t let your eyes wander during their story.
  • Keep the conversation going by asking about breast cancer treatment and what the treatment will involve. They may use a lot of medical language you won’t be familiar with, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. This will help them feel that you are dedicated to learning.
  • Ask them if they’ll need rides to the hospital for treatment or if they just want someone to come along during check-ups. Write down your number on a piece of paper or add your number to the emergency contact group in their phone. The bigger the support and network of people they have, the better chances they’ll stay positive about fighting breast cancer off.

Conversation Tips to Avoid

Be mindful that there are things that aren’t the best to say to someone undergoing breast cancer treatments. Some patients might consider these comments insulting, unrelated, or discouraging.

  • Don’t relate to the way they feel. No matter how sick you once were in the hospital, it's unlikely you know how they are feeling.
  • Don’t tell them to turn the frown upside down. They have a right to be sad or devastated.
  • Don’t talk about how your friend’s friend just passed away from breast cancer.
  • Don’t share recent gossip research about finding a cure for breast cancer.

One of the most important parts about having this conversation is to be genuine and be yourself during the conversation.

If yyou'veever had to have this difficult conversation with someone face-to-face, we’d love to hear your story!