Thursday, 10 November 2016

Weekly Discussion Summary ~ The Impact of Breast Cancer on Partners

Our weekly discussion explored the impact of our cancer diagnosis on our partners, with a focus on our relationships, including the support, or lack of it in some instances, that was received from partners during diagnosis, treatment and beyond.

The experiences of our members were diverse, with some relationships breaking up because the partner was unable to cope, and others becoming stronger and closer following the illness. Some experienced their partners shying away from engaging with the treatment, others' partners attended every appointment and became carers. Some of us felt guilty that partners had to take over practical tasks such as housework or childcare, and expressed their worries for their partner, and that their illness might make them a burden.

The article Spouse Support Doc outlines the important role supportive partners play in helping their partners with breast cancer. More than this, irrespective of whether partners ARE or AREN'T supportive, they also need support and psychological care in their own right. Not only would this help partners to address their own needs, but would also help us, because we could be more open about our feelings, and this in turn fosters healthier relationships.

Those partners who did have support did a better job at supporting their partners with breast cancer, and this lowered psychological distress as well as depression for both of them. It was a challenge to consider how our cancer experience has affected our partners' emotional wellbeing, because our own needs can feel so overwhelming, however, the research concludes that partners deal better with the breast cancer diagnosis if they receive some kind of psychological assistance, even if it's just a friend or family member to talk to.

The husband of one of our members has written a book about his experience: you can read it here:
Profits will be going to charity.


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