Supporting your partner with a cancer diagnosis
How best to support your partner
We know it is incredibly hard to watch the person you love suffering or contemplating and this is normal. It can be hard to resist to obvious temptation to swaddle them emotionally and run around doing everything you possibly can. Pause!
Be there as and when needed, read the situation and be aware that with cancer treatment come both physical and emotional impact but balance this with trying to maintain normality wherever possible. Don’t presume what she won’t want or want to do.
Do not be scared of talking about what is happening, but also do not make it the only topic of conversation.
As a team at Mummy’s Star, we share a lot of lived experience and are here for you to offer support to you.
Knowledge around cancer and pregnancy
News of a cancer diagnosis during pregnancy or shortly after a birth is often met with shock because it is not something that many people have heard is possible. However, cancer can be diagnosed at any time in any person and therefore the diagnosis at this time is coincidence rather cause.
Due to the many body changes expected over the course of a pregnancy and in the post-partum period, it is sadly common that some of the early signs of cancers can be mistaken for being pregnancy related. We refer to this as symptom shielding. It is correct to not wish to alarm women into thinking that everything they feel could be the sign of something far more sinister but nonetheless, body awareness is key.
Approximately 2 women a day receive a diagnosis of cancer currently. This equates to 1in every 1000 pregnant women (Public Health England 2018).
While there has not been a huge amount of research carried out into this area, the guidance is generally to treat a woman in this situation, as if she were not pregnant as reasonably as possible. This means maintaining birth preferences and choices for your partner and you as a couple.
You can find good information about cancer and pregnancy by visiting INCIP (International Network on Cancer, Infertility and Pregnancy cancerinpregnancy.org
We work closely with members of INCIP to raise awareness of the choices families should and do have in this situation.
Andy’s Man Club