My partner’s also in treatment

I'm with someone who is also having cancer treatment. How will this affect us?

Advice columnist and relationship expert Matt Whyman answers:

Everyone deals with cancer and treatment in their own way. When it comes to managing relationships, what matters is that you can be honest with each other every step of the way.

A positive experience

Diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago, Lucia met her partner when they were both undergoing treatment. In her experience, young people tended to socialise in hospital or together in activities and social groups outside.

Lucia found the experience to be a positive one: "You have a mutual understanding of what it's like to be diagnosed and may have faced similar challenges and experiences. This isn't something that many young people have gone through, so you can have an understanding about things such as how you view life and the worries which you both may have."

Tell your care team

Lucia advises letting your treatment team and other support staff know that you're with another young person who's having cancer treatment. She explains: "They may be able to offer you advice around coping with the unique challenges that your relationship may bring and important health advice which you may have to follow, for example around fertility or late effects. You can also discuss any worries or concerns with them, either with or without your boyfriend or girlfriend."

Remember what's important

Ultimately, whether you have both experienced cancer treatment can mean as much or as little as you like. What matters is that you enjoy being with each other, and show mutual respect and understanding at all times.


Content added: November 2015
Review due: November 2017