Often when a woman has breast cancer, all the attention is
focussed on her. You may be angry, shocked, disappointed,
irritable or just 'not yourself'. You may have physical responses
just thinking about what is happening to your partner or your
If you are a partner
Partners often find cancer really hard to deal with. In some
cases the partner is hit even harder than the women who has
cancer. You may be asking, why not me?
Make sure you get support for yourself. This need not necessarily
be a formal group - anyone you feel you can talk to in confidence
will do. It helps if they have experience in dealing with
cancer or breast cancer through someone in their own family.
Your partner may not want to say some things in front of
you and this may make you uncomfortable. , There may also
be things you can't easily say in front of her or other family
Sometimes it is easier to talk to someone else. You may find
it easier to talk about your fears for the future with someone
who isn't directly involved. This doesn't mean you shouldn't
talk about such things with your partner. But it will help
you to sort out your feelings.
While you may find it extremely difficult, even feeling "selfish"
asking for help when you're not the one who is sick, it is
in your partner's interests even more than your own that you
get the right kind of support for yourself.
Don't try to do too much and do what you can to help manage
your own feelings:
- Try to stay healthy.
- Look after yourself emotionally and don't push yourself
- Take time to do things you normally do for yourself that
help relieve pressure (play golf or go fishing if that helps).
The time you take out for yourself will give you strength
to help your partner
- Share your feelings with someone you trust. Talking about
what is happening helps reduce stress
- Involve friends and family to help share some of the daily
activities e.g. cooking, laundry etc.
- It's OK to admit to not being strong all the time
- If you are caring for a partner with metastatic cancer,
take a break from being a carer. Speak to the doctor, nurse
or social worker about respite care. This type of care is
provided by people with special training, in a hospice setting,
for a specific period of time
If you are a child
You may feel like your life is turned upside down. You may
be afraid your mum will die. She may not be around so much
or may spend time in hospital or in bed. She or your father
may keep asking you to be quiet, do extra things around the
house or stay with friends after school.
Here are a couple of websites which you may find helpful:
is a site for friends and families of women with cancer
is an organization which has been formed to help families
and children better understand the effects of cancer and chemotherapy
in a parent.