Impact on family and friends

After treatment is over, your family and friends may also need time to adjust. Research shows that carers can also have high levels of distress, even when treatment has finished.

Your cancer diagnosis may make people around you question their own priorities and goals. And, like you, they may be concerned about the cancer coming back. Let your family and friends know that you understand it is hard for them as well. You may want to tell them how much you appreciate all they have already done to help you, and let them know if you still need their support.

People close to you can have a range of reactions when your cancer treatment ends. They may feel:

  • relieved that you’re okay
  • convinced that everything will go straight back to normal for you
  • happy to focus on others and themselves again
  • exhausted
  • confused, especially if your relationship has changed
  • upset that they are not in regular contact with the health care team
  • pleased that cancer no longer dominates conversations
  • worried about what the future holds.

Encourage your family and friends to seek support. They can call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or Carers Australia on 1800 242 636.

Will my family inherit my cancer? 
If you’ve had cancer, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your children will get it too. If you are concerned the cancer is inherited, talk to your doctor about any risk factors and whether your family needs regular screening. Your doctor may refer you to a family cancer clinic or to a genetic counselling service.

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This information was last reviewed in April 2018
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A cancer diagnosis has a far-reaching impact, affecting not only the person with cancer, but also their family and friends.

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