Sharing Your Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Diagnosis
Being diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to sharing the news with others.
You may worry about how others will react. You may not want your friends and family to worry or treat you differently, says Dr. Jacob Sands, a lung cancer specialist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and spokesperson for the American Lung Association.
However, it’s important to talk about it. Your friends and family can provide the support you need, such as a shoulder to lean on, a ride to the doctor’s office, or an extra pair of hands at home.
How do you let people know? There isn’t one right way, but the following steps can make the conversation easier for you and your loved ones.
1. Decide who you want to tell
You don’t have to tell everyone right away. It can be helpful to first make a list of the people you want to notify and when you want to tell them.
Your list may include:
- Spouse or Partner
- Children and Grandchildren
- Friends and Family
- Employer and Colleagues
2. Decide how you want to share the news
When sharing your diagnosis in person, find a quiet, private place where you can speak openly. You may want a loved one, such as your spouse, to be there for support.
In many cases, you may not have the time, energy, or desire to speak with everyone in person. You can also tell people:
- In a group
- Through a loved one
- By email, text, or through a website
3. Share Your Diagnosis
Sharing your diagnosis can be difficult, but the following steps can help. You may also want to seek advice from your doctor, therapist, social worker, or pediatrician.
- Ensure you understand your diagnosis
- Decide how much you want to share
- Adapt your approach
- Articulate the support you need
- Have information and resources ready
- Ask for feedback
4. Be prepared for any reaction
People react differently to cancer news, and their reactions may surprise you. Some may want to help immediately, while others may need time.
Lung cancer is also associated with a stigma. Holding a response as, „It doesn’t matter how I got cancer; I need your support now,“ may be beneficial.