Cancer has been called a family disease because a cancer diagnosis affects not just the patient, but the entire family. If your spouse has been diagnosed with cancer, his or her journey with cancer will also have a profound effect on your own life and the lives of your children. As your spouse’s leading supporter and primary caregiver, your cancer journey will be different from your spouse’s but is likely to be equally challenging.
What You Should Know
Here are three things you should know as you and your spouse cope with cancer:
1. Keep communicating. Share with each other your feelings and fears about cancer. The more openly you and your spouse can discuss the challenges that occur during the cancer journey, the better you can support each other.
2. Respect your spouse’s decisions. Be an information gatherer and sounding board for your spouse, but respect his or her right to make treatment decisions. You can help your spouse by researching alternative cancer treatments, cancer vaccines and other treatment options and sharing that information with your spouse. Share your thoughts and discuss your fears, but respect your spouse’s right to determine the path of his/her cancer journey.
3. There is more to life than cancer. Life does not stop just because your spouse is diagnosed with cancer. When possible, continue your normal family routine. Make time to talk and cuddle as a couple. Continue to parent as a team. Ask friends and family for help when you need it, and join a cancer support community.