Relationship changes when a loved one has cancer

Frequent Contributor

Relationship changes when a loved one has cancer

Understanding some of the possible relationship changes that we could encounter when caring for a cancer patient and what we can do about them can help reduce stress.  


While it can be frustrating and yes, we do need to give consideration to our loved ones unwell status (but don't it always seem like we are the ones that need to take the initiative), it is worthwhile to tackle the presenting issue as a team and we do not allow ourselves to be treated as a doormat. In my view any negotiations are best done with a smile with a touch of humour thrown in. When conversations are seasoned with grace and love, outcomes can bring relief and/or resolution to concerns or fears both parties may have. Open communication, generosity and cooperation with one another makes a hard road that little bit easier to travel.


I think at times as carers we just don't know how to articulate the quandary we may find ourselves in. By tapping into readily available cancer support resources we often get clarity as to the root cause and learn how to deal with things in a healthy way. The first graphic is taken from the Cancer Council booklet "Caring for Someone with Cancer"


Of course, some topics are best left for discussion with our own counselor, therapist or even here on the caregiver support group as it can be unkind to raise them with our loved ones.


This is part of self care, the nitty gritty stuff


images - 2020-10-16T150646.001.jpeg

images (60).png

images (62).png

images - 2020-10-16T142224.546.jpeg

images (61).png

images - 2020-10-16T150109.131~2.jpeg


Re: Relationship changes when a loved one has cancer

I fully agree with your comment about “not being treated as a doormat”. This was something I struggled with and nurses in general hospital ward didn’t help the situation. There were days during his various hospital admissions that my husband would get angry with me when things weren’t going the way he wanted, also when he was scared. Staff in general hospital wards used to tell me I had to understand he was physically and mentally unwell and may be it was best I not visit him in hospital. Nurses in oncology wards were much more understanding and suggested I laid the ground rules and walk out of his room when rules were broken. First couple of times i told him I had had enough and was going home it wasn’t easy to walk out on him but knowing I had support from nurses i found over time it was less stressful on me than to have stayed in his room and been receiptient of his moods
Post new topic
Talk to a health professional
Cancer Council support and information 13 11 20Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm
Cancer Information and Support

Online resources and support

Access information about support services, online resources and a range of other materials.

Caring for someone with cancer?

Find out what resources and support services are available to assist you.