Dealing with negative comments


Many people don’t understand triple-negative breast cancer, and having to explain it can feel overwhelming. It’s likely you will spend a lot of time with people diagnosed with other types of breast cancer. Your family and friends may have heard misleading information.

Because triple-negative breast cancer can be aggressive, some people may react to the news in an upsetting way or act like they feel sorry for you. They may wrongly believe you have metastatic breast cancer or that triple-negative breast cancer always becomes metastatic.

Hearing negative comments can be distressing. After all, you are focused on staying strong and getting well. Here are some tips for talking to negative people:

  • Gently explain that chemotherapy is very effective for triple-negative breast cancers.
  • If someone persists, be direct and say, “Thank you for your concern, but you are not helping me right now.”

Give your family and friends concrete ways to support you. They might not know what to do or how to talk with you about your diagnosis. They’ll be glad if you ask them to help out with meals, carpooling or running errands.

Remember, you have control over who you tell and how many details you share. Consider giving more details to those who are supportive. Share less, or nothing, with others. Empower yourself by ignoring myths and focusing instead on your recovery.


Reviewed and updated: April 18, 2018

Reviewed by: Lisa Carey MD, FASCO


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Living Beyond Breast Cancer is a national nonprofit organization that seeks to create a world that understands there is more than one way to have breast cancer. To fulfill its mission of providing trusted information and a community of support to those impacted by the disease, Living Beyond Breast Cancer offers on-demand emotional, practical, and evidence-based content. For over 30 years, the organization has remained committed to creating a culture of acceptance — where sharing the diversity of the lived experience of breast cancer fosters self-advocacy and hope. For more information, learn more about our programs and services.