Agony Aunt

Patricia Marie, MBACP qualified counsellor is a member of The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, practising in Harley Street, Essex and Scotland. She has many years experience of dealing with domestic violence, relationship problems, bereavement, depression, addictions, post traumatic stress and many other emotional issues. If you have a dilemma, please email

I found a lump

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 29 January 2016
Dear Patricia Marie,

I need some advice please. I found a lump in my breast, and my GP has now referred me for further tests as a matter of urgency. I am divorced, and have a daughter, aged 21, who is studying hard at university.

I am scared, and have no one to confide in as everyone else has their own problems. Do you think I should tell my daughter, or should I wait for the results?

I don't know how to go about this.

Patricia Marie says...

Firstly, comfort yourself with the fact that a high percentage of lumps are found to be non-cancerous, and even if yours should prove to be malignant, research is continually discovering and developing effective treatments, meaning many people are now fighting and overcoming the disease.
I feel there are actually two issues contained within this problem – whether to tell your daughter, and how to receive some support. You do not have to deal with your fears alone. Whilst awaiting your results, discuss how you are feeling with your GP, as well as Macmillan Cancer Support. They are a reliable, dedicated organisation whose advice and care continue to be completely invaluable both for sufferers and their families.

Your daughter may have already picked up on your emotions, and be concerned, but unsure how to approach you. By trying to protect her, and withholding such delicate information, she could be hurt that you were unable to share what may become life changing news.

If you do decide to tell her, establish your own perspective on the diagnosis first. Be honest with her as you talk through your feelings, which could range widely from fear to anger to acceptance. Whether you're waiting nervously for test results, and would appreciate some encouragement, have had a scare that fortunately turned out ok, or need treatment and would welcome some support, find the courage to open up to her about your concerns. This can be the first step towards feeling more in control, and could deepen your relationship by building trust.

Try not to dismiss others as being too busy to listen and help you. You could be denying them their chance to be there for you. We all experience challenging times, some more painful than others, and sharing them is truly the best way.
This is a very uncertain time for you, but what you can be sure of is that receiving compassion, understanding and support from your loved ones will help you triumph over whatever you are having to face.

Macmillan Cancer Support: 0808 808 0000 Monday to Friday 9am-8pm.
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