A common mistake cancer patients make is trying to shield the family. Your friends and family need to know what is wrong. If a person gets cancer, the family gets cancer. In a way that doesn't happen with many other illnesses, cancer affects the entire family and adds stress, especially to those who are taking care of the patient, but also to other family members.
Talk to your family. Share how you feel. Enlist others to talk to them if necessary. If there are young children, they also need to understand that Mommy or Daddy is not well. They need to be assured it's nothing they've done. They haven't caused it. They haven't contributed to it. Children talk, and they can be cruel. If your children are at school, they have heard the word "cancer". They know that people die of cancer. And now their mom or dad has it. They need to be loved and reassured.
Encourage them to ask questions. Answer as honestly as you can. Don't lie or make promises that you can't guarantee, but at the same time, try not to frighten them. Don't make unfair statements like, "When I'm gone you'll need to be the man of the house," to a five-year-old. (Yes, that really happened.)
Allow friends and family to run errands, to give you lifts, to prepare meals and help with jobs around the house. When you accept their help, you allow them to feel as if they're making a contribution to the family crisis. Even little children can be encouraged to help in small ways. "Could you go and find me a pretty flower from the garden?"