"It's important to share this information with the people closest to you, but you don't have to do it all at onceand you don't have to tell everyone," says Robin Hershkowitz, program director for women's cancers at CancerCare, a national nonprofit support services group based in New York City.
The sooner you inform your kids that you have breast cancer, the better, say experts. Just keep the explanations simple and age-appropriate. "Kids are intuitive, and they'll notice a change in the household," says Hershkowitz. "So tell them directly: 'Mom has cancer.' Use the word. Let them hear it from you, and explain it. It'll be much less scary than what they'll make up in their heads about what's going on." If they have questions, answer them. If not, move on.
The sooner you tell your parents you have breast cancer, the sooner they can get used to the situation. (Unless, of course, you're not ever planning to tell them.)