Q. I've just completed my treatment (I'm 26) and I'm not sure how to handle the possibility of dating. I'm not comfortable disclosing that I've had cancer, but I know that I should.
Dating can be difficult enough without having to worry about when and how to disclose a recent history of cancer. There is no right or wrong way to broach this topic on a date, and what may be right for one person might not be right for another. There’s no need to share your cancer history with someone on a first, second, or even third date if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. That being said, I would encourage you to think about your cancer history as another fact about yourself that you will eventually share with a potential partner in the process of getting to know each other. It’s ok to wait until you feel safe and comfortable with someone before disclosing this part of your past. Forming a deeper connection with a potential partner before you trust them with this information is a way to protect yourself, and there’s nothing wrong with waiting if that’s what you need. Hopefully once you do share this information with someone they will be supportive and understanding and this sharing will bring you both closer together.
If you’re looking for additional support as you transition into survivorship, check out CancerCare’s Young Adult Post-Treatment Survivorship Support Group. This can be a great place to speak with other young adults struggling with similar questions and to learn what they have found helpful. CancerCare also has a great publication on this topic Dating and New Relationships: During and After Cancer that you might find helpful as well.