- Cancer Information
- Living well
- Living well after cancer
- Impact on family and friends
- When others don’t understand
When others don’t understand
After treatment finishes, your family and friends may not fully understand what you’ve been through. They may expect you to act the same as you did before the cancer. If your outlook and priorities have changed, people close to you may be confused, disappointed, worried or frustrated. Family roles and responsibilities may have changed during treatment, and you may need to discuss these changes.
Friends and family may say things like “but you look fine” and “the cancer has gone, hasn’t it?” It’s natural for them to want the distress and disruption of cancer to go away.
Your family and friends may have difficulty accepting that you still need support or that some treatment side effects can persist for a long time or never go away. They care about you and want you to be well. However, if you find their reactions difficult to handle, you might like to talk to them about how you’re feeling. Ask for their support and patience. It may help to tell them that your recovery is ongoing, and that you need time to adjust to what you’ve been through and work out the next steps.
Podcast: Family Dynamics and Cancer
Prof Michael Jefford, Medical Oncologist and Director, Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Lucy Bailey, Nurse Counsellor, Cancer Council Queensland; Philip Bullas, Consumer; Dr Kate Gunn, Clinical Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow, Department of Rural Health, University of South Australia, SA; Rosemerry Hodgkin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Prof David Joske, Clinical Haematologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Clinical Professor of Medicine, The University of Western Australia, WA; Kim Kerin-Ayres, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Cancer Survivorship, Concord Hospital, NSW; Sally Littlewood, Physiotherapist, Seymour Health, VIC; Georgina Lohse, Social Worker, GV Health,VIC; Melanie Moore, Exercise Physiologist and Clinical Supervisor, University of Canberra Cancer Wellness Clinic, ACT; June Savva, Senior Clinician Dietitian, Nutrition and Dietetics, Monash Cancer Centre, Monash Health, VIC; Dr Elysia Thornton-Benko, Specialist General Practitioner and Research Fellow, University of New South Wales, NSW; Prof Janette Vardy, Medical Oncologist, Concord Cancer Centre and Professor of Cancer Medicine, The University of Sydney, NSW; Lyndell Wills, Consumer.
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