Emotional Issues

It is important not to ignore feelings of depression or anxiety (for either of you), but instead to seek help. Many support groups exist for both people with cancer and their loved ones. These are places for support, good ideas, and companionship with others experiencing the same situation. Individual counseling can be very helpful, as can medication (when appropriate) to relieve anxiety and depression and contribute to a better emotional quality of life. 

Continue to ask your loved one what is most helpful to him or her, and seek help for yourself when you need it. Try not to be too self-critical. Don’t expect perfection from yourself or the person you love. Supporting a loved one through a serious illness is both difficult and challenging. By just “being there” and opening lines of communication, you are helping. Also, it is important to try NOT to blame your loved one’s medical team or let your loved one blame him or herself for the return of the cancer. Doctors would like nothing better than to prevent this from happening. Unfortunately, some cancers will spread no matter what anyone does and no matter how diligent one is about treatment and follow-up care.

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