Would You Tell Your Family and Friends?

I was talking with my spouse last week and she related that someone she knows has been diagnosed with Stage IV cancer and likely has less than a year to live.

Cancer Patient with Doctor

Licensed from iStockPhoto

She’s a younger woman, in her mid to late 40’s, and while the cancer may be treatable, she has decided not to undergo treatment. While this surprised me, what came next left me speechless.

Not only has she decided not to seek treatment, but she has decided not to tell her long-term partner or her family.  Having been at my spouse’s side while she fought Stage III cancer, I can’t imagine turning down treatment and I would fight it with all I had in me.  I also can’t imagine trying to do it alone.

This revelation really got me thinking though. If I was terminal with no chance for recovery, would I want to burden my spouse and family with it? Would it be fair not to tell them only to have them find out later? Would not telling them make it any easier in the short- or long-term? A week later I’m still pondering these questions.

What would you do?