Family Life When Dealing With Cancer

Family Life When Dealing With Cancer

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Ways for families to deal with cancer. How to support patients and how to get used to a new lifestyle.

How Does Cancer Affect Family Life?

A cancer diagnosis doesn’t only affect the patient but his or her family. For family members, it’s difficult to hear such a diagnosis since their worries become much more intense and can affect the life of a patient. Cancer is scary and we don’t want to believe that it can happen to any of us one day. However, the statistic shows that a huge percent of people who fight cancer die.

My mother was diagnosed with cancer almost 2 years ago and life has changed a lot. Many times I wished it should have never happened but then I realized that I just have to get used to a new lifestyle. It happened to the person who I love a lot and we just have to deal with it. 

How Does Cancer Affect Marriage?

Over the last two years since my mother was diagnosed with cancer, I thought that my parents could divorce. Why? There is a lot of pressure on a person who was diagnosed and his/her partner who is watching another suffer. My parents have experienced anger a lot. They were arguing, getting annoyed with each other and felt helpless. My father felt especially helpless at times when he couldn’t help my mother. All he could do was to suggest what my mother should do. When a partner becomes an “expert” and thinks he/she knows best, it provokes conflicts and this is what everyone should avoid. Now I know that no one knows better than a patient. We can follow other people’s examples, read many books, listen to advice but no one knows better than a person who is suffering from cancer. 

My parents had many dreams and plans. They wanted to travel especially to hot countries. However, when you are diagnosed with cancer, doctors suggest avoiding the sun as much as possible. Of course, this also affects the relationship because both people get frustrated. Instead of traveling to somewhere you wanted for the last few months, you continue going to work and the feeling of a “tense atmosphere” is always present. 

How Can Family Members Help? 

At first, you don’t want anyone to know what kind of problem you are dealing with. Not everyone likes when others feel sorry for you. Even though family members try to support you they can’t help but feel sorry for you. My mother didn’t want anyone to know about her diagnosis. However, my father insisted on telling the family members and seeking help. As a result, it made everyone worry. People started calling my mother asking how she feels and suggesting her to have surgery and chemotherapy immediately. This is when my mother regretted others knowing her diagnosis. 

When we hear too many opinions and advice, it can be difficult to hear ourselves. My mother was strong enough to stay true to herself and follow the route she thought was the best for her. 


After visiting many doctors and hearing the same verdict which didn’t sound positive, my mother decided to change her life. She changed her diet, she started to exercise more, and she made her dream come true which was to become a nutritionist. She works hard mentally every single day: she doesn’t allow the fear of death to overcome her positive emotions and she believes that everything she does heals her. What did we have to do? Me, my father and our family members had to accept that from when my mother was diagnosed with cancer, life could have never been the same. 

It’s still difficult at times because my mother didn’t fully recover but she loves herself much more than before. My parents have a better relationship than before the scary diagnosis. My mother found many like-minded people who support her. The diagnosis taught us all to be more patient, caring, supportive,  understanding and live every day gratefully.

Ways Families Should Deal With Cancer

Medical experts say that communication is important between people with cancer and those who care for them. We have to try to understand each other and try to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes sometimes. It teaches us to be compassionate and express words of love instead of criticism.

It’s important to know what a patient wants. Family members should ask how they can help. Pushing help and feeling sorry for someone who has been diagnosed is what we need to avoid. There are several ways in which family members can help a patient: come on medical appointments with a patient, helping with treatment or just being a good friend who can listen and support.

Cancer shouldn’t create distance. People shouldn’t isolate. A family should adjust to a new lifestyle and don’t look at a diagnosis as at a dark cloud hanging over their lives. We took the diagnosis as another challenge in life that has been given as a lesson. In my mother’s case, the diagnosis brought us closer. 

Resource Links:

The Crisis of Cancer: Psychological Impact on Family Caregivers

The Effects of Cancer on Family Life

How Cancer Affects Family Life

Author’s Bio: 

Louis Robidoux is a blogger who enjoys writing articles that are of great interest to society. After having lots of posts published on different platforms, Louis decided to create his own site where he’s covering topics about food, interesting hacks, and lifestyle.