Sharing Our Personal News About Lung Cancer

Sharing Our Personal News About Lung Cancer

If you are a lung cancer patient or survivor who is getting periodic scans, you are guaranteed to have news from time to time. How do you share the news? Who do you share it with? What about bad news versus good news - does that affect how you share your scan results and other news?

As a person who is active on social media, I’ve discovered that I need a news dissemination policy that I hold to whether the news is good or bad. My tendency would be to walk out of the doctor’s office, bring Facebook up on my phone, and blurt out what I just learned. That tends to hurt the feelings of my family and closest friends, however, who prefer that I tell them first before I tell the world. They don’t want to hear my news second hand on Facebook or from someone else, they want to hear from me. This is an easy preference to accommodate; the world is not going to crawl to a stop if that Facebook post waits a day or two until after I’ve made my phone calls.

Parents, siblings, and a few of my closest friends are told by telephone, as soon as possible after I have concluded my consultation. These people who know me so well need to hear my voice, so that they can judge how I am feeling and better offer comfort if it is needed that day. We drive past the city where my mother lives on our way home from Roswell, and when the news has been not so good, we will stop by Mom’s to share a cup of tea and talk with her face-to-face. As a mom myself, I can put myself in her shoes and understand that her emotional connection to me is deep.

I tell my kids by text and instant message, because that’s how they roll. My daughter and I have communicated primarily by instant message for a decade now, and we can accurately judge emotional tone from our messages to each other. Plus they are both at work but still want the news as soon as possible, and texts are the least intrusive way to let them know.

After family and close friends know, my next post is to Facebook. After that one, I post to a few selected patient support sites, including this one. On the support sites, my experiences become part of the accumulated knowledge of many lung cancer patients and survivors, one more data point helping those who are on the same treatment that I am on and those who will follow me. I have learned so much from other people’s experiences, sharing mine are a way to say “thank you” to our generous lung cancer support community.

Perhaps the biggest lesson I have learned as I’ve reported my medical news through the ups and downs of my treatments is that my family, friends, and social media readers want to hear a glimmer of hope from me as deeply as I want to hear hope in my doctor’s words. Even when I have been unhappy about the news I must report, making those phone calls is my first step toward putting new developments into perspective. I’m not only putting the best face possible on whatever I have just learned about my illness, I’m also gathering my strength for the changes that lie ahead.

How do you share news with your loved ones? Do you also find yourself trying to find the glimmer of hope that they need as badly as you do?

Photo credit: Pixabay picture by manseok, CC0 Public Domain

8 Replies

  • Anita ,

    You are a very sweet and considerate person to think of everyone's feelings and needs in that way. The world could definitely use a few more ladies like you.



  • Great Question -- My Husband, my Sons and my Mom are the very first to know and I call/text them immediately. I won't make any Social Media posts, until those our know and have all responded. I would never want them to read it on FB, or find out from someone who happened to see the post before I told them. My Mom, as an example, does not have a computer, smart phone or any access to Social Media and one time, I posted something "minor" and one of her friends told her before I had - not that I had not tried, she simply was not home when I called. However, she was very upset and felt left out, which was really not the case -- It was not anything even important, but she gets very upset if she hears anything about my or my family, from FB users first? Once I reach my family, I typically post an update on FB -- I have categorized all my FB "Friends" in different ways and only "Close Friends" and "Family" get ALL my detailed medical information. I never post any medical info "Publically" on FB, simply for privacy reasons. I tend to post GOOD News much faster than when it's not so good...sometimes I need time to let that sink in more. I found this this easiest and fastest way to reach a lot of people, versus trying to call or email them all and then "missing" someone -- this way they ALL hear at the same time. I am very thankful and grateful to everyone who has been so kind and supportive, so I want to be sure they are all up to date! They are my strength and keep me going!!!

    ~ Lisa

  • scifiknitter It me Six,1As u all know I had my first diagnosis in 2014 devastated had first biopsy copd sarcadois chf pulmonary high BP Herd oxygen had bout 4 stays over the years in ICU stop smoking could not quit drinking family was falling apart death back to back so I was thinking nobody cared and I was next but God said No I was sitting here one day messing with this phone stumbled on this site found the amazing people I'm proud to call my friends,,😁Help me Tremendously, By the Grace of God I'm off high BP meds 02 fine we all have our days down to 20mg of Prednisone 1 water pill(Furmoside) 3 inhalers God is Good😋Keep the FAITH👍

  • Six1, great to hear that you've been able to reduce the number of medications you are taking!


  • I only share with a very small group of friends and family. I called each one from the beginning to let them know I had a suspicious area in my lung and was going straight to surgery. I keep them informed of scan results via email. I would give them good or bad news because they want to know. For me there is no sharing on social media.

  • Spainy, many people prefer to be careful about sharing personal information. A very valid way to live in these times!


  • My wife & girls are the first ones I tell , I try to tell them just the way the doctor tells me , good or bad , I do not want to hide anything , then I tell the rest of my big family . No secrets here.

  • Cancompany,

    For me, the rewards of being open about having lung cancer have been many. It's great that you can be completely honest with your closest family, sometimes they have a hard time with the difficult details.


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