Personal Relationships

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A Couple’s Guide to Facing Breast Cancer Together

by Susan Hedlund, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C

The diagnosis of cancer is a life crisis for anyone who hears those words: “you’ve got cancer.” The impact, however, extends beyond the person receiving the news. Cancer affects the whole family. For couples, there is a profound impact. The challenges that come with a cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery can be difficult and long lasting. The words “in sickness and in health” take on an entirely new meaning when cancer enters the picture. Still, most couples can and do get through the experience, and some report a renewed sense of closeness afterward.

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I Didn’t Want Him to Worry

by David A. Koop

I wanted to live, not for me, but for Christopher. It was only a few months until his seventh birthday. Would I still be here to plan his party? I had to figure out how to deal with the new reality of my life, at least what was to be left of it. I did not want Christopher to worry about me. That was much easier in the beginning, before the chemotherapy started to do a number on my body. It started with losing my hair.

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9 Ways to Make a Person with Cancer Smile

by Susan Reif

Cancer treatment is hard. Cancer treatment is challenging. Cancer treatment is not fun. Cancer treatment brings with it many physical and mental obstacles. Fighting cancer takes strength, determination, positive thinking, and support (on top of all the medication). Everyone fight­ing cancer is incredible. Amazing. Strong. Awesome. Remind them of that fact every day.

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Realistic Optimism in Cancerville

by William Penzer, PhD

Not knowing what will happen brings out the frightened, con­fused, and overwhelmed parts of us in all life’s areas, and especially in Cancerville. The philosophy of realis­tic optimism seeks to offset our automatic pessimistic reactions. It strives to replace hopelessness with hopefulness, within realistic boundaries.

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When Your Partner Has Cancer

by Drucilla Brethwaite, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, and Paul Clark, PhD, LCSW

A cancer diagnosis in the fam­ily can elicit strong emotions – fear, anger, sadness – and those strong emotions can interfere with your ability to problem solve and engage in life. In order to find a “new normal” after diagnosis, it helps to become aware of how you and your partner communi­cate and function as a team.

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Women, Cancer, & Sexuality

by Ralph and Barbara Alterowitz

After cancer, women often feel they have lost a significant part of themselves and their sexuality. Mourning is natural. Women need to learn ways to cope with this loss. But when mourning locks you in, when you let it act as a kind of emotional quicksand, it compounds the tragedy of loss. Many women feel that their cancer has not just changed their sense of self, but has damaged it.

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Helping Children Cope with Your Breast Cancer

by Cynthia Moore, PhD

Open, honest communication with children about breast cancer can be challenging, but it’s one of the best ways to help children thrive during your treatment.

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Managing Communication Around Cancer Diagnosis Gives Patients Sense of Control

Asserting control over how to communicate — or not communicate — about their illness helps cancer patients overcome feelings of helplessness in a traumatic situation, according to researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.

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