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How Breast Cancer Affects Relationships

A breast cancer diagnosis can cause emotional distress for both the individual and their family/friends. While breast cancer may not cause interpersonal problems, it can often worsen deteriorating relationships. For more on how breast cancer affects relationships, continue reading.

Familial Relationships

It can be difficult to share your breast cancer diagnosis with loved ones. You may want to shield them from feeling worried or afraid, but this is not an experience you can face alone. Be prepared for an outpouring of support and handouts. Everyone will want to feel like they are helping you in some way.

Your role as a woman, mother, daughter, or sister may look different. Your biggest priority is your own health and wellbeing, so don’t feel bad letting other people take over other areas of your life. Trust that they have your best intention at heart.

Intimate Relationships

Depending on the stage or treatment for your breast cancer diagnosis, you may find it difficult to remain intimate with your partner. You may each face worries and insecurities about the relationship, which can ultimately bring you closer together or tear you apart.

It is important to discuss your needs and concerns as a couple. Communication will be key to navigating new and uncomfortable situations. If you’re struggling to communicate, it may be helpful to talk to a licenced counselor or therapist. 


Battling cancer can greatly affect your self-image and confidence. It may be hard to view your body in a positive light when you feel it working against you.

The most important relationship to work on during this time is the one you have with yourself. Women who undergo a mastectomy may feel at odds with their body, so practice compassion and self-love when looking at yourself in the mirror. 

Relationships will be tested by cancer, but a strong support system will prevail. If you become concerned about issues relating to your relationships or intimacy, it may help to talk to your treatment team or general practitioner.

At Little Silver Mammography and HerSpace, we pursue the clinical objective of detecting and diagnosing breast cancer at its earliest, most curable stage. Learn more about us and schedule an appointment to get the answers you need as soon as possible.