Impact on partners


Cancer is life changing for you and also for your partner.

Choosing to ignore or sideline your partner's feelings can create more problems for everyone. Sometimes he/ she may not know what to say or be afraid they might upset you. They may view you as not needing their help. Or they may be grieving the loss of the partner and life that they were accustomed to.

There's a real role-shift for your partner. Almost overnight, they move from spouse/partner to primary caregiver/support person and this sudden change can cause feelings of helplessness, conflict, not knowing what to do or how to do it.

Your partner needs to figure out how to support you and that can take time. There is a notion that reassuring you can be helpful ("It's going to be all right"). But sometimes it isn't and their failed attempts to reassure and 'fix you' can lead to feelings of powerlessness and frustration, and a belief that their support is poor and ineffective.

Your partner's biggest fear may be losing you. Involving them every step of the way may help - at appointments, discussions with your medical team and with you - and be aware that they may need more explanation or a different type information.  If your partner is not coping or your relationship is not working, don't hesitate to seek professional help.