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Cancer: The Unwelcome Guest

by Karen Tripp, MS

Imagine an unwelcome guest showing up in your living room. Beyond being grotesque, foul smelling, and abusive, the guest is dangerous. The unspoken decision is made not to upset him, so conversation among family members is stilted and planned activities grind to a halt, all because of the fear of how the guest will react. The entire household invests itself in eliminating the unwelcome visitor. This unwelcome guest is cancer.

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Breaking Bread Together

by Anne K. Fishel, PhD

When a parent gets a cancer diagnosis, regular family dinners can be one of the first things to go. But dinnertime is worth fighting for. It can provide stability and normalcy to everyone. Dinnertime may be the only time when we come together and leave behind our individual pursuits, like texting, playing video-games, and e-mailing. In cooking and eating with your family, you can nourish each other during a difficult time.

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When Mom Has Cancer

by Katherine Easton, LCSW, OSW-C

Perhaps more than any other illness, cancer is truly a family disease. Families face a myriad of complex issues when adjusting to a new diagnosis of cancer. Fear, anger, and guilt are common emotions expressed by both the woman with cancer and her family. How a family learns to cope and adjust to living with cancer will depend on how well the family functioned before the cancer and how well they can communicate honestly and openly with each other about the experience.

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Go Ahead, Break the Rules!

by Heather Jose, OTR

As if cancer isn’t tough enough to deal with, right on the heels of a diagnosis comes a plethora of uncomfortable situations with other people. I have been there as well, dealing with a stage IV diagnosis, all the while being shocked at what comes out of the mouths of others.

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Seven Tips for Dating after a Cancer Diagnosis

by Helen L Coons, PhD, ABPP

Dating during and after cancer treatment, whether you are single, divorced, or widowed, raises complex questions such as When do I start to date? How do I disclose my cancer and treatment history? How will I cope with my date’s response?

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Cancer in the Elderly

by Hyman B. Muss, MD

“He’s too old to treat.” I hear it all the time. It’s a sign of age bias as well as not being caught up on the major advances in cancer treatment – including treatment of older people.

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Maintaining and Enhancing Spousal Relationships after a Cancer Diagnosis

by Hoda Badr, PhD

When one partner has cancer, both partners and their relationship are affected. Although cancer is a health crisis that can wreak havoc on any relationship, many marriages survive, and even fl ourish, after cancer. Approaching cancer as “our problem” and finding opportunities to continue to connect as a couple can help to minimize both partners’ emotional distress. It is possible to fight the battle against cancer together and to strengthen your relationship.

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Coping with Cancer - It’s a Family Affair

by Michelle Riba, MD, MS, and Karen Hammelef, MS

Like any chronic medical condition, cancer is a family illness. Everyone is affected in some way. In fact, people with cancer frequently tell us that coping with a cancer diagnosis is worse for their families than it is for themselves. Since each family’s situation is unique, it is impossible to generalize. There are, however, some important points to convey to families when a loved one has cancer.

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