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In Treatment For Cancer

If you have a spouse or significant other, you will both face challenges from the treatment and side effects. There is no right or wrong way to handle the situation. Cooperative problem solving and mutual support is key.

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Each couple's relationship is affected in unique ways by the stress of a cancer diagnosis, treatment and side effects. With the diagnosis, future plans are suddenly, unexpectedly, called into question. With the treatment, ways of doing things need to be changed temporarily and perhaps permanently.

One of the most common side effects to cancer treatment, and one of the most difficult for couples to deal with, is fatigue. The healthy partner takes over activities and responsibilities you can't do for a while, or perhaps permanently. Perhaps some of your activities can be turned over to other people. If you feel well enough, consider taking over some of the activities your beloved usually does that you feel well enough to do.

You may not feel like having sexual relations right now. If so, let the other person know. Also let the person know your feeling has nothing to do with him or her. There are other ways of loving and supporting each other that are not sexual. For instance, holding each other, and cuddling.

It's not unusual for a relationship to have ups and downs. There may even be small crises. The stress can test a strong relationship and ultimately make it stronger. At the other extreme, it can also be the back breaking straw for a rocky relationship. Keep in mind that you may both have very different ways of coping with crisis. Use the coping skills that have gotten the two of you through in the past.

Consider a support group for couples.

If it's needed, professional help is available. Speak with a social worker, or psychologist who works with patients with a condition such as yours.

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