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How people may react

You will probably get a range of reactions when you talk about having cancer. Some people will be easy to talk to and will know just what to say and how to support you. Others may react in ways that surprise or confuse you. They may get so upset that you end up having to comfort them. They may say the wrong things or say nothing at all. Well-meaning relatives or friends may think that they have to keep everything focused on the positive and act very cheerful with you. Unfortunately, this can make you feel more alone and isolated.

How people respond doesn’t always have a lot to do with you and your situation. It can have more to do with their own personalities, experiences and what they know about cancer.

If people don’t react as you’d like, try not to assume that it means they don’t care. Give them time to adjust to the news and deal with their own feelings. Often, family and friends become more supportive over time.

In some cases, you may have to accept that someone cannot deal with cancer. While this can be upsetting, it’s important to know that you haven’t done anything wrong. They are staying away because they can’t accept or are afraid of your cancer diagnosis.

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