Just been diagnosed - how do I tell my daughter?


I have just found this site and it seems so friendly I thought I would post.

I was diagnosed last week after I had a routine op to remove a polyp.  Shocked is an understatement.  As you would be aware, my mind was racing with all sorts.  I live on my own with my 11 year old daughter who is a very sensitive/anxious girl.  Thankfully I have very supporting parents/family and friends.  I have to have a radical hysterectomy and possible further treatment. I am 33.

I wonder if anyone has any idea how to go about telling a child of this age or of any support groups that can help.   Also, if there are any support groups near Maidstone, Kent as the ones I have seen on here are too far away.

I am on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.  Have to keep it together and 'normal' for my daughter.  I just want the operation over and done with and for it to be got rid of.

Thanks for looking.

Hello Sunnyshiney, 

Your user name made me smile, and that's what you must do. I know right now you will not feel like it but you will feel stronger as time passes. I have 2 girls aged 12 and 10 and on July 11th I had to tell them I had cancer. Its the dreaded "c" word. You must not be frightened and nor must she.  What you must do is not tell your daughter you have cancer until you have all the facts and what the treatment will be. Contact Macmillan who will send you information on telling children. They recommend telling them only information which they can understand and I agree with this. Your daughter will understand more than you think and she will be able to deal with the facts. Its the unknown that scares us all. I underwent a radical hysterectomy 2 weeks ago today and have been told I do not require radiotherapy treatment which is a huge relief. I live in Hertfordshire but was transferred to a surgeon at Maidstone as I was not happy with my local surgeon. I was in the best hands and received great care at Maidstone. There has been some pioneering work carried out on gynaecology cancer at Maidstone so be reassured you will be in the best hands. I had my surgery by keyhole which I would not have done if I had stayed local. There will be a lot of waiting for results/ appointments etc. so take each day as it comes and keep busy. Surround yourself with positive friends and family who will be strong and supportive. Take care, I'm thinking of you and sending a big hug....


Hi, sorry to hear your news. Life will be very strange for you right now but it does get better, I promise. Be kind to yourself, stay strong and positive and take all of the support you can get. To be honest with you, rightly or wrongly, I never told my children the true extent of what was happening. They were 10 and 7 at the time and my 10 year old particularly is a worrier. I told them Mummy was going to have an op to remove her baby making bits as I diving need them any more and it would stop me having problems in the future. No-one was allowed to mention the 'c' word around them and they coped very well. I had 3 doses of brachy (internal radiotherapy) but this was done while they were at school so they never even knew! I'm not sure if this is the recommended way to deal with it but it worked for us and they came through it unscathed, which was my priority. It also kept me focused on being positive. I am sure you will find the right path for you. Ali x

Hi sunny,

I am sorry about your news. It sounds like you are early stages/stage 1 to be having a hysterectomy so you may not need to have the chemo/radiation so I would be inclined to again, as said, above tell your daughter only what need to know so do not worry ie don't mention the c word. My daughter is 6 and I had told her that I had some poorly things going on in my stomach when I had colposcopy and a following infection so she knew something was wrong. When I got the diagnosis I used the word hysterectomy and told her I was having the part of my insides taken out where a baby would grow as it had gone a bit wrong and was making me poorly. She asked lots of questions which I asked basically but properly and we have never used the c word.

I had my hysterectomy last week and she has accepted it all very well, knowing that she won't get a brother or sister now. She is very interested in my scars and extremely interested in my catheter and how it works etc. so keeping her informed in a general way has worked for her without having to mention anything about a disease.

your daughter is older though. I would definitely explain about the hysterectomy but maybe not use the c word as this brings images of death into the mind. If by some ill twist of fate, you do need further treatment, then maybe have another think. As mentioned above, go on the Macmillan site for support and ask you hospital key worker nurse for advice.

ultimately it is up to you. Have a good think. Talk it over with whoever is close to you (family, friends).

i wish you lots of luck over the coming weeks. If you want to know anything, just ask! The ladies on here have been a God send at times. Also, have a look through the posts on the old forum as I have found them very helpful too (especially late at night when I cannot sleep).


I was diagnosed in July. Having had cancer in my family and knowing some people who have survived cancer we decided to be upfront with our kids. They. Are 11, 9 and 6. I used MacMillan and cancer research websites to help me how to phrase it. I didn't want my kids to overhear something and I wanted to be able to talk freely with family and friends. I wasn't sure how I would handle it either! I kept them off school and told them altogether. I said they could ask me anything and I would tell them the truth. I told them it was ok to talk to one friend at school but to let me know so i could tell thheir parents the situation. I kept it positive but realistic. Then we all went for ice cream ( fior breakfast!!!) They went to the pictures to see despicable me in 3d.  At the end of a day full of nice things I asked how they were. They said they'd had a fab day......... They have asked some hard questions and my eldest has got upset but I think that's OK. It depends on your relationship with your daughter. You know her like no-one else and I'm sure however you handle it will be the right way. 

Hi Sunny,

So sorry to hear your news. It is very sad and everyone here unfortunately is going through same experience, so you are asking the right people. I am 33 and was diagnosed on 9th of September, was so shocked that had to start taking diazepam to keep myself going. It gets easier with time particularly once you know the plan of actions to deal with this scary illness. Please stay positive and ask your Macmillan nurse for advice (they are really good) and have a look at their website, there is a section on how to inform children in such situation. Please stay strong - you are not alone xxxx

Jelena xxx


Wow, thank you all so much for your responses.  I have only just joined the site yesterday and there are so many people in my situation, I don't feel I am the only one in the world going through this.  Thank you for your support. 

I think I am a bit clearer on how I am going to tackle this with my daughter.  I don't want the world and his wife knowing what I am going through as I have never liked being the centre of attention, but the close friends and family who do know have strick instructions not to tell anyone else as I can't have my duaghter finding out before I have told her.  Esp if a child said that her mum has the 'c' word - she would freak out. 

I haven't been given a nurse yet, but guess I might next week when I have the appointment with my surgeon.  I will certainly have a look on the Macmillan site.

Thank you all once again and wish you all the best in your journeys.  I will be a regular visitor to this site now.

x x x x

hi Sunny

first off sorry about your news.

As to telling your daughter, i have two children and their father is deceased, i dealt with them differently.  to begin with they were curious why i was not at work and visiting the doctors lots.  i told them that my tummy was hurting.

i waited until i knew the treatment plan proposed for me and my hysterectomy date. My daughter who was nearly 9 then i told her the full version, my main reason was that i didn't want her to overhear anyone talking and then be upset and i felt as her parent i owed it to be honest with her. there was also a boy in her class who had a brain tumor two years ago so she doesn't associate cancer with death per se.  She did ask if i was going to lose my hair in fact that was her only question.

My son who is younger, i just said i was having an operation on my tummy and he wasn't to jump on me when i came home. he was non too plussed and was fascinated with the catheter i came home with.

What i'm trying to say here is that you as a parent will know your child and will know what they can handle information wise.  



Thanks Pat.  What you say make sense. Glad to see you are all clear after your op. Take care x x

Hi I don't have any profound advice for you I'm afraid  but wanted to send you a hug ?