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Cancer can affect your personal relationships.

Two cancer survivors playing with a child enjoying family time


Your relationships might change during cancer and treatment, and that can be tough. You might miss the way things used to be. Some couples grow closer when they face the challenge together. But sometimes, relationships might struggle because of the stress from cancer.

- If you have a partner (like a husband/wife, or boyfriend/girlfriend), they're an important part of your everyday life. They go through the same tough times when you're dealing with cancer.
- When things get really hard, that's when relationships are put to the test. No one knows how strong they'll be when faced with cancer. Feeling scared about the future is normal. Couples and families often try to hide their emotions to protect each other.
- Roles might change too - the usually strong person might need more help. Sometimes, the relationship can feel more like a caregiver/patient situation, rather than equal partners.
- Being tired and other side effects can make physical closeness less important, especially for the person with cancer. This can lead to feelings of being left out and not feeling good about your own body.

- Kids, no matter how old they are, will also feel the effects. You might want to shield them from your emotions, but they might want to be involved in your daily life.

- Friendships might feel strained when you're dealing with cancer. True friends will stick by you, offer help, and be there on good days and bad. Other friends might not know how to handle it and might pull away.

Being aware of possible problems and knowing where to get extra support can make a big difference.


Katrina Heath is a physical therapist at The After Cancer

Dr. Katrina Health, PT

Physical Therapist

North Carolina

Free intro call

Dr. Tommy Bischoff is a therapist at The After Cancer

Dr. Tommy Bischoff, LMFT


South Carolina, North Carolina

Lisa Caughman Payne a cancer survivor and positive psychology practitioner at The After Cancer

Lisa Caughman Payne

Positive Psychology Practitioner

All states


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