Together we will beat cancer


How were you informed you have cancer?

3 Jul 2015 21:16

I ask this question as I found out that I had cancer when I opened a letter from the hospital while drinking my morning coffee. The news took some digesting and I was unable to tell anyone 'till my partner got home from work. I am told this is unusual but I have since heard that others have beed told over the phone or called in to see their doctor or asked to come into hospital to discuss the results of their tests. So how did you receive the news that you have cancer?

How were you informed you have cancer?

3 Jul 2015 22:33 in response to kimchoson


I saw my GP on the Monday and he faxed a referral through to the breast clinic.  I was asked to attend the clinic on the Wednesday and was told by the consultant/surgeon on that day that he was 99% sure I had breast cancer and took a biopsy for confirmation.  He phoned me on the Friday with the news that he was now 100% sure. x

How were you informed you have cancer?

3 Jul 2015 23:14 in response to kimchoson

I was told by the consultant at the hospital after a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy - quite conventionally. The only thing was,I was extremely calm because I already knew, and as unbelievable as this sounds, my dog 'told' me.  She had been nudging my breast  with her nose and sniffing to the point I had to put her in her cage to get some peace. I think she smelled something different on me because since I have had my lumpectomy she has behaved quite normally  and curls up and goes to sleep on my lap.  I am taking this as a good sign that all the cancer has been taken out! 


How were you informed you have cancer?

4 Jul 2015 01:09 in response to kimchoson

After hysteroscopy and scans I went back to the hospital for results. The nurse was coming into the waiting room to call patients in but when it came to my turn the consultant, a lovely, kind man, came out and took me in.  He and a specialist nurse told me and spoke to me answering all my questions for about half an hour.


How were you informed you have cancer?

4 Jul 2015 09:05 in response to kimchoson

After my GP referral to the colorectal consultant, I was given a physical examination and at that initial appointment, the consultant told me that he was fairly certain I had bowel Cancer. He fast-tracked me for scans and tests and then confirmed the diagnosis in his outpatients clinic a few weeks later. 

On some occasions over the past two years I have opted to be given results over the telephone, but I'd indicated to the team that I was happy to receive news in this way (it meant less of a trek to the hospital) This was always followed up with a letter that I had been copied in to, explaining the results, treatment plans etc and I was also advised / encouraged to contact any of the specialist nurses / consultant's secretaries if I wished to ask questions or make another clinic appointment to discuss anything with the doctor. 

How were you informed you have cancer?

4 Jul 2015 09:57 in response to kimchoson



Your hospital broke all the rules in informing you by letter. My guess is that this was down to human error and that you should complain to help stop it happening again.

I was told in the middle of my gastroscopy, the upper GI consultant was supposed to be checking for a peptic ulcer but found "a large lump, I'll take some biopsies" before he reached my stomach. The atmosphere in the room suddenly changed and he switched from asking the nurse where she was going on holiday.

The diagnosis was confirmed a few days (it felt like weeks) later, when the incurable and inoperable phrase was used for the first time and I was told I might only have weeks to live.  Strangely I was unphased by this as I had built myself up to expect the worst but my wife was knocked for six, as were the rest of my family.I wasn't being brave, just numbed.



How were you informed you have cancer?

6 Sep 2015 21:10 in response to kimchoson

Hi very sorry to hear  about your news. I was told two weeks  ago that I have brest cancer.  I don't want to read any books about it. As I keep hoping it's all a dream and I will wake up. I feel so tired 

How were you informed you have cancer?

6 Sep 2015 21:36 in response to kimchoson

I went in for removal of dermoid cyst on ovary, but surprise surprise they traced it to my large bowel, so I was told not long after I woke up from surgery.  Was so high on morphine I remember hearing the words bowel cancer but don't think it registered.  In fact I rolled on with life and my recovery from surgery not even giving cancer another thought........ until I got my appointment with my Oncologist, then it was YIKES!!

How were you informed you have cancer?

30 Sep 2016 01:53 in response to kimchoson

li Kimchoson,

After having had mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy I was told there and then (one stop clinic for which I had to pay privately) - breast cancer. 

My father, unfortunately, was told over the phone - secondary cancer of the bile ducts (primary unknown). Four and a half years later I still find this very upsetting. 


How were you informed you have cancer?

30 Sep 2016 20:44 in response to kimchoson

My dad fell unwell and was in hospital for around 10 days where he had X-ray, MRI and ultrasound. He was discharged from hospital and a week later received an appointment to Macmillan. From that moment in we knew it was cancer. He sadly passed 3 days after the consultant appointment. 

How were you informed you have cancer?

30 Sep 2016 22:25 in response to Michelle1978


After having been referred to the breast clinic and having a scan and a biopsy taken which was inconclusive only to have another one 2 weeks later.

This time I was told I would be seen 3 days later in clinic for the results..the Dr taking the biopsy seemed concerned I could feel the atmosphere.He was insistent I would be seen in person rather than written to this time.

3 days later shown to a room-consultant walks in and introduced the breast cancer care nurse who tells me she's going to sit and hold my hand..enough said that said it all for her!! 


How were you informed you have cancer?

22 Jan 2017 23:47 in response to kimchoson
When I had breast cancer I was told face to face. I have just found out I have bladder cancer this was via a letter through the post

How were you informed you have cancer?

23 Jan 2017 06:52 in response to kimchoson

I was told on what I was thinking was routine follow up to endoscopy, I'd travelled alone on the bus. Went into room doctor asked how I was then said you know the biopsy taken ...Well you have cancer . I was floored with the news a Macmillan nurse took me into a side room gave me a leaflet said surgeon would be in touch asked if I knew my way out . It was terrible the way I was told. I cried on the bus all the way home.

How were you informed you have cancer?

28 Jan 2017 10:36 in response to kimchoson

I was called and asked to come and see the consultant the following day, early morning appointment.

I was called into the office, and told they found early invasive endometrial cancer. This was Nov 2016. I am due back to see the consultant March 2017.

I receievd the letter after confirming the diagnosis and next steps.



How were you informed you have cancer?

28 Jan 2017 14:10 in response to Monka

I went to my GP on 1 24 17 because I felt a lump and needed to be seen. She felt the lump too.

She immediately sent me to the Breast Specialist (?) and received an early morning appointment the next day where the doctor felt the lump and immediately told me it was cancer. Before a mammogram, before the CT scan, and before the biopsy results were back. 

I had all three tests in one day. (talk about a stress-filled, teary eyed day!) 

Now I wait.... Confused


How were you informed you have cancer?

28 Jan 2017 15:40 in response to kimchoson

I haven't actually been diagnosed as yet (but, after CT scan, upper GI endoscopy and biospies all carried out within the last 3-4 weeks and no follow-up outpatients consultation at either my GP surgery or at the hospital that did the tests until Monday 30/01 I have received (by Post) today another outpatient appointment at a specialist cancer facility, so can only assume the worst i.e. that they suspect or have even found cancer somewhere, although only last week they were trying to make a second CT scan appointment before the outpatients appt. about the results of the first tests had been reported back to me at outpatients so this may be a false alarm.  What do others think (apart from their communication methods being questionable or even negligent of course!)?


How were you informed you have cancer?

28 Jan 2017 16:40 in response to Cornishscot64

@ Cornishscot. ~~ Maybe something gave the testing facility a false reading and they need these follow-up test before they can give you a definitive answer. I think we all think the worse as more days pass without a 100% confirmation of a diagnosis. I'm hoping it is because they are behind the scenes working diligently to get the diagnosis right. All my best...

How were you informed you have cancer?

28 Jan 2017 16:51 in response to Cornishscot64
I don't think you can get away from being worried but hopefully it will be good news. I got a letter to return to doctor who arranged my CT scan to be told my biopsy from endoscopy had showed cancer, none of it made sense and the way I was told was just awful.

How were you informed you have cancer?

31 Jan 2017 11:28 in response to Joni

Had my outpatients appt. with original hospital's Gastro consultant - they have found a tumour in the top area of my tummy near but not exactly at the junction of the oesophagus but are hopeful that although already 3cm in size it is not quite "game over" for a number of reasons, not least my general wellness overall otherwise. Have been given prescription for protein meal drinks to build up my muscle mass in case surgery is required (very likely I should think and the rest!) Still have to have the Thorax CT scan and outpatients appt. with Oncologist but seems to be a single localised tumour only, i.e. nothing showing elsewhere in abdo/pelvis area so finger's crossed that is truly it for now !

How were you informed you have cancer?

6 Sep 2017 15:04 in response to Abc
Hi...i had an endosccooy/Hysteroscopsy 2.5 weeks ago i have had numerous phone calls asking me to contact the Dr concerned after many attempts with no success i got another phone call today stating the Dr/Consultant needed to see me st the Well Womans Clinic this friday .. less than 2 days to go....could this be bad news they wouldnt spk to me on the phone

How were you informed you have cancer?

6 Sep 2017 15:14 in response to Nici

I went to the breast clinic on Monday. I had a mammogram,scan and a biopsy. Doctor told me it doesn't look good and I could have cancer. 

I go back Friday for the results.

How were you informed you have cancer?

6 Sep 2017 18:29 in response to kimchoson
Hiya We was told at approx 5.15pm on a cold dark wet Friday evening in march. With no contact numbers or advice or anything....only come in clinic Monday at 4pm!??? SHAME ON YOU NHS Thank god for private healthcare

How were you informed you have cancer?

6 Sep 2017 18:31 in response to Cornishscot64


how are you getting on???

How were you informed you have cancer?

7 Sep 2017 07:54 in response to kimchoson


i had a appointment to see my doctor and specialist nurse, I was told face to face and also confirmed by later days afterwards. 

Hope your alright x

How were you informed you have cancer?

9 Sep 2017 15:57 in response to kimchoson

I had a biopsy last week.  They took two samples, one for the outpatient clinic (there and then) and one for a more in-depth analysis by pathology.  I was asked to come back because they'd had no answers from the basic tests available in the clinic and had to wait for pathology to give them the results from their sample.

My appointment was yesterday and the consultant asked me what I was told when they gave me an ultrasound and took the biopsy.  I was told what it wasn't - a cyst, an abscess or a fibroadenoma - but nothing about what it was.  She said, "Well, you have breast cancer.  Sorry to blurt it out like that."

I had no problem with the way she told me because as I said, there's no way to sugar coat it.  I was told clearly, concisely, with no euphemisms which meant I'd have to 'guess' I had cancer and then ask the question, "Does that mean I have cancer?".  I really appeciated her directness and honesty.

It turns out that my particular type of cancer is very rare, which is why they were unable to detect it from the out-patient clinc biopsy sample. 

Mentally, I'd already prepared myself for it, so I feel fine.  It's just one of those things x

How were you informed you have cancer?

9 Sep 2017 20:37 in response to EmilyM

I "knew" I had cancer before the test results were confirmed, the doctor called me on the phone with the news.  He was kind and supportive but did not sugar coat anything.  When I was first diagnosed I couldn't even say the word cancer, I just called it the Big C.  It has been fourteen years since that day and some days it still feels like a weird dream.

How were you informed you have cancer?

6 Oct 2018 19:28 in response to kimchoson

I came home late and opened a letter telling me they had found cancer. I am still in shock

How were you informed you have cancer?

6 Oct 2018 23:23 in response to kimchoson

Hi, I was informed over the phone by a consultant, it was over two weeks since my biopsy and I phoned his secretary to see if results were in and she told me she would email him. I was due to go on holiday so the day before I was due to go he called me with the news, to say I was shattered was an understatement, I couldn't even say anything, I squeaked out a "ok" a few times, didn't really take in what he was saying to me, advising cancelling my holiday and seeing a haematologist ASAP. 

He did apologise for telling me this way but it was to catch me before I went away. Still a shock no matter how they tell you.

How were you informed you have cancer?

20 Nov 2018 23:05 in response to kimchoson

I had an overian cyst removed and the surgeon phoned me to say it wasn't cancer, it was abnormal cells and asked me into his office to discuss the results. I went in with my husband and he said the same thing band that he wanted me to have chemo as a precaution. Then he took me in to talk with his colleague - who said it WAS cancer. Shocked couldn't begin to describe how I felt and he left the room and his nurse took over. I did have ovarian cancer. At that point I fell to pieces and sank a qtr ltr of brandy that night. This was about 13 years ago but it has stayed with me, not the way to be told.

How were you informed you have cancer?

7 Jun 2019 04:50 in response to kimchoson

My husband had a ridged cystoscope previous day stay overnight The following morning consultant came round shouted over to him Yes it is cancer It was a 4 bed ward at the time my husband was talking to the other men on the ward He said it went deathly quiet has they all heard it He rang me up crying I went straight up to the hospital to see him to comfort him I was so upset Could not find consultant anywhere with all the stress and anxiety I never complain I had enough to worry about Feel better now I have told someone 

How were you informed you have cancer?

7 Jun 2019 08:12 in response to kimchoson

Hi Kim., 

i was still laying on table, nurse who took samples, said you can get up now, oh and you've got cancer, (how nice).


How were you informed you have cancer?

7 Jun 2019 20:52 in response to fileygirl

PLEASE lodge a formal complaint - this behaviour is unacceptable from anyone .., let alone a Consultant!

How were you informed you have cancer?

7 Jun 2019 20:59 in response to Billygoat

At the risk of repetition - PLEASE lodge a formal complaint. She may have been right but she wasn't qualified nor had the evidence to give a diagnosis.

I've lost count of the number of people who were wrongly told they had cancer by nurses etc.  based on hunches causing unnecessary anxiety. 


How were you informed you have cancer?

8 Jun 2019 00:32 in response to Billygoat

Hi Billygoat.

I agree with @davek ‍, you were handled most unprofessionally.  

For most people (and at one time, that included me), the word cancer is so terrifying that they essentially tune out in shock once they hear the diagnosis. So ideally, the diagnosis should also be rapidly followed by an indication of prognosis or expected outcome - especially when that outcome is generally positive. 

Simply throwing out that a patient has got cancer and then leaving them to it is just unprofessional and unacceptable. 


How were you informed you have cancer?

8 Jun 2019 03:27 in response to davek

Hi davek., after i got dressed i waited in a small cubicle a lady came in in white smock i guess specialist, she introduced her self we talk a wile (i guess she was working round to the main subject) she said I'm very sorry but it's Cancer, i said that's OK i already know the nurse told me she said would you excuse me for a minute, she went to the nurse and she played,, HELL,, and she wasn't very nice about it either then she came back to me and apologised i wasn't really that bothered it just confirmed what i already thought,.


How were you informed you have cancer?

8 Jun 2019 09:49 in response to Billygoat


I asked the Gynaecologist (who was inviting me to talk about my holiday) what he was seeing and thinking as he examined me. He said cervical cancer / ovarian cancer.

He sent me for MRI and CT Scan, and in the week before that, my suspicion was raised that perhaps things were looking inauspicious.

I was formally told by the consultant 10 days after the MRI that it was stage 4b cervical cancer which had spread to other organs.

It was a HUGE shock which I am still trying to recover from, but I can't think of a nice way of telling someone they have incurable cancer and I would hate for that to be (part of) my job, so I take my hat off to people who do this all day.

Having said that, there is clearly a communication problem in the (in many ways) wonderful NHS - after being told on the phone that... I could not be told anything over the phone, I was told to bring someone to my appointment (uh-oh) and sent an SMS appointment reminder stating I was meeting with the "Oncology Surgery team". A bit of a give-away. In the event, things turned out to be much worse as they could not helped me due to the advanced stage of my cancer. Sigh.

Best wishes to all on this forum and those who support us through this strange journey which never shows on Trip Advisor...

How were you informed you have cancer?

10 Oct 2019 16:13 in response to kimchoson

Four years ago I had chronic chest pain. I was seen in a Hospital Primary Centre and given meds. The next day I saw my GP as I was still in discomfort. He requested a scan, when it was found I had a gall bladder full of stones. After the scan the sonographer told me to book an appooitnment with my GP for a week after. A week later, I saw my GP and was told that I had a 'mass' and that it would need further investigations. No-one mentioned cancer until I was introduced to a Cancer Nurse. I had kidney cancer. A tumour that surrounded my left kidney, 3 x the size of the kidney itself. It had eaten up the adrenal gland also. They thought it was in my spleen but luckily this was not the case. I had a 6.5 hour operation and was left with what they call a mercedes benz scar. The cancer (grade 3 malignant) was all removed luckily but I have been left with a massive double hernia (stomach and bowel) which requires surgery itself. I am currently waiting for a date after being cancelled twice. I am having my annual CT Scan today and am seeing my Consultant in December for the results. Hopefully I am still in remission. It was 3 weeks from start to hospital admission for the nephrectomy.