Talking to your colleagues
Talking about your breast cancer diagnosis with colleagues can be difficult, and you may wonder if and when you should have the conversation.
Sharing your diagnosis with your colleagues will allow them the opportunity to support you.
My colleagues were amazing. They were genuinely interested, but respectful. They allowed me to hide in my office during the days that I felt really unwell. They asked me how I was and listened when I told them.
The benefits of sharing your diagnosis
Some people prefer not to tell colleagues about their diagnosis and find this helps them retain some normality in their lives.
Others choose to tell colleagues they are closest to first and have those colleagues help them plan how to tell others.
Don’t feel pressured to discuss it if you don’t feel comfortable – only you know what works best for you and your situation.
If you choose to, there may be benefits of speaking about your diagnosis in the workplace.
- It may give your colleagues the chance to support you and help them to know what to expect.
- You could let them know when you need their help.
- They may have suggestions on how to cope with your work.
- It may bring you closer to the people you work with.
- You may find some colleagues have experienced cancer and understand the support you require.
You could give people a short explanation of your treatment and its side effects, such as hair loss, tiredness, concentration and your possible risk of infection.
For further information, the following resources are available:
- Visit I am a colleague of someone with breast cancer section.
- Download and share BCNA's Helping a friend or colleague booklet with your colleagues.
- For information about breast cancer and treatments, visit the Understanding breast cancer section.
- For a simple explanation of breast cancer to share with your colleagues, download the plain English version of the About breast cancer booklet.
- Call BCNA’s Helpline on 1800 500 258 for information, support and referral.