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Blood cancer, friends and your social life

Keep talking to your friends, and you'll find you can still have a social life, even with blood cancer.

Find out how Hinna and Jamie told their friends they had blood cancer:

Hinna and Jamie explain how they told people they had blood cancer

Three ways to tell your friends you have blood cancer

It can be hard to tell people you have blood cancer, especially when you can hardly believe it yourself. And with everyone wanting to know how you're doing, you might want to make things easier on yourself. Here are some ideas how:

  1. Choose one friend as your 'information person' who will share your news with others.
  2. Give your friends information about the type of blood cancer you have so you don't have to explain it many times over.
  3. If it helps to write things down, write a blog about what’s happening and share your news that way.

Four young adults tell us how blood cancer changed their social lives:

Emily, Hinna, Jamie and Leanne talk about their social lives after a blood cancer diagnosis

What to tell your friends about blood cancer

Life’s changed, but you’re still the same person. Cancer doesn’t mean the end of your friendships, in fact, you’ll probably need your friends’ support more than ever. But you may need to explain to them how things will change for you – at least temporarily.

I’m still the same person as before. I just have a new perspective on life.

- Emily

Blood cancer makes it harder to socialise

Blood cancer has a big impact on your body and your mind. You’ll often feel very tired (you'll have fatigue) and this can last for a few months after treatment has finished.

You might not be able to handle as much alcohol as before or stay up to the early hours.

Try to explain this to your friends so they don’t feel disappointed if you’re not the party animal you once were.

I said to my friends, things are going to change. I’m going to look and feel different, I’m not going to be able to do the same things.

- Jamie

Cancer messes with your social diary

After being diagnosed, you may struggle to be as spontaneous as before. And even if you're stuck indoors and only meeting friends virtually, you may still get tired at times.

Let your friends know that you need to pace yourself, and that they shouldn't take it personally if you cancel things at the last minute.

You still want to keep in touch

Cancer is a life-altering thing. At times, it can totally take over your life, and leave little time or head space to think about anything else. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only topic you want to talk about.

In fact, you’ll probably be glad to talk about anything but cancer for a change. So make it clear to your friends that you still want to catch up with what's going on in their lives.

Watch four young adults give their tips on how to keep friendships going through blood cancer:

Find out how Emily, Hinna, Jamie and Leanne maintained their social lives during blood cancer

Leanne on Blood Cancer UK's online forum

"Everyone on the Blood Cancer UK online forum is so supportive and people will always respond."


Our videos

The videoson this page were shot before the coronavirus pandemic. See our information about coping with the risk of coronavirus.