Your Family Life After Cancer

Cancer is a family affair that has affected and will continue to affect, you and your loved ones even after treatment ends. Cancer leaves behind emotional and physical changes that can be challenging for the entire family.

One common concern of cancer patients’ children, grandchildren, and siblings is, “Will I get cancer, too?” Blood relatives of survivors of some cancers, such as breast, colorectal, endometrial, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate cancers, could be at increased risk of developing them.

Another concern among couples of child-bearing age is, “Will we be able to conceive a child?” Some cancer treatments do affect fertility. If you received any of those treatments, you may have preserved eggs or sperm in advance and you and your partner will need to discuss how to proceed. If you didn’t address fertility before treatment, you may experience anxiety as you do try to conceive a child.

Whether you want to conceive a child or not, sex and intimacy concerns will almost certainly cross your mind and that of your partner. You both may wonder, “Is it OK to be sexually active?” Some cancers and cancer treatments do impact sexual function. You may struggle with body image issues and your partner may worry about causing you discomfort.

All of these questions and concerns are normal. Fortunately, with time and open communication, you and your family will find yourselves thinking less about cancer and spending more time enjoying a normal life again.