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Keeping cancer a secret is down to the individual

Published 28/09/2015

Bestselling novelist Jackie Collins' choice to keep her breast cancer secret until close to her passing raises the interesting 'why do people keep cancer a secret' debate (Life, September 22).

Jackie was a strong, independent person, so wanted to carry on life as normal, without worrying close family and friends. She was also a celebrity who lost a husband and partner to cancer, so knew how the disease impacts a person and family.

Penny Brohn Cancer Care, which was touched to be chosen as Ms Collins' UK beneficiary in lieu of flowers, simply suggests it is and should be up to the individual who and how they tell.

Some tell everyone, because they know they can and want to; others tell a close circle, who will be there for them; and some do not tell anyone for myriad reasons - including not wishing to worry them and to keep life as "normal" as possible.

Every person is different, but sharing can be therapeutic in many cases. Jackie was a public figure, so perhaps her own need for privacy and control was greater.

DR CATHERINE ZOLLMAN

Penny Brohn Cancer Care

Belfast Telegraph

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