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Cancer and the Family

Cancer can have a major impact on not just the people with the disease but on their loved ones as well. A cancer diagnosis is undeniably hard and often can place stress on the familial roles and friendships. Complex feelings and emotions arise which can cause distress and other negative effects when coupled with a lack of communication and fear.

In the case with spouses and partners, a relationship can either be strengthened or stressed by amplifying existing problems at the beginning of a cancer diagnosis. In most scenarios, the person diagnosed will struggle with the notion of having to become dependent on their spouse who is now deemed to be the caregiver. In the caregiver role the person often becomes responsible for doctors appointments, treatment schedules, and even independent research. This can become exceedingly difficult and challenging as daily life continues and more and more work and responsibilities take place.

Also in situations with children, even further stress is placed in the caregiver to become the main support. And with the increased responsibilities for the caregiver sometimes the children’s childhood is neglected and they become a smaller level caregiver as well.

Efforts can be made to combat this stress though. Establishing a clear and direct line of communication being primary to success. It is necessary to talk openly and freely about feelings, concerns and frustrations. Another option is using a social worker or support group which can help to break down barriers in the relationships that cause anger and confusion.

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