PUBLISHED ON: 20 August 2013

Being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer can affect the people around you in different ways whether it’s a partner family or friends.

Earlier in the year we made a video about talking to people about secondary breast cancer. The video features Tara Beaumont a clinical nurse specialist and Marie who was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer five years ago.

You can watch the video on our Secondary breast cancer and relationships page.

How partners may react

Your partner may react to the news of your diagnosis in a number of ways. As Tara says everyone’s different.

However your partner reacts it’s likely they’ll have questions and fears just like you. But partners may not always know where to find the answers and there may be some questions they don’t feel able to ask you.

Having unanswered questions can be a burden. But Breast Cancer Care’s Helpline is also here for the partners friends and family of people with breast cancer. They can call us free on 0808 800 6000.

Your friends

Tara says that when people are diagnosed with secondary breast cancer they often find out who their real friends are.

This was certainly the case for Marie. She found that even some close friends didn’t know how to deal with the situation and as a result she lost touch with some of them. This was very difficult to deal with.

Tara suggests that often friends want to help but don’t know how. If you can ask them to do something specific to help you this may make things easier.

Talking to children

Talking to children about a secondary diagnosis can be very scary for the adult involved. How you talk to your children will probably depend on their age. And as Tara says ‘You know your child best.’

Marie’s son was 18 when she was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer. At first he found it very difficult to talk about and sought information online but as Marie says he found some of the information very frightening.

You may find it useful to read our list of resources for parents with secondary breast cancer.

If you live alone

Many people live alone and may not have close family nearby to support them. Tara recommends speaking to your GP or breast care nurse to find out what support is available in your area.

Breast Cancer Care’s Living with Secondary Breast Cancer service has been designed to give you the opportunity to meet other people living with a secondary diagnosis and get relevant information and support.