PUBLISHED ON: 18 August 2014

When a woman or a man is diagnosed with breast cancer the impact ripples outwards affecting many people. Family friends colleagues employers… the list goes on.

Being the partner of someone with breast cancer can be particularly difficult as the diagnosis and treatments make themselves felt in one of your closest personal relationships.

Strong emotions

Watching your partner go through such difficult experiences can have a huge impact on you both physically and emotionally. At different times you may feel shock anger acceptance fear relief anxiety exhaustion and strength.

Many people describe this cycle of strong feelings as an ‘emotional rollercoaster’ although no two people will have exactly the same experience.

Some couples find that the situation brings them closer together others that it drives them apart.

You may find that your role changes and people – including your partner family colleagues and friends – have new or different expectations of you. What you expect of yourself as a partner may also change.

To help you cope with all this you need to look after yourself as much as those around you.

We can help

If you’d like to find out more about how other people such as you have been affected our online discussion Forum has a dedicated area for partners relatives and friends of people with breast cancer.

We can also put you in touch by phone or email with someone who’s had a similar experience to yours through our Someone Like Me service.

And we’ve just updated our free booklet In it together: for partners of people with breast cancer. You can order or download it now.

If you’d like to talk in confidence to one of the experts on our free Helpline please call 0808 800 6000. They’ll give you as much time as you need to talk through this issue or any other breast cancer or breast health concern.