Family and relationships with metastatic breast cancer

If you’ve been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, sharing the news with loved ones can be one of the most difficult conversations you’ll ever have. And communicating about your diagnosis with the different people in your life – partners, children, parents, friends – can look different depending on their role in your life. In this section, you can find tips for talking to your family about how things may change, ways to adjust household responsibilities, and what you need. We also share guidance for how to talk honestly with your partner about your intimate life, and ways to stay close even if things are changing.

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It’s a constant balance of being a strong advocate for this disease and reserving energy to be a well-balanced mother to two typical teenagers. 

 

Does a family history of metastatic breast cancer increase your chances of getting it?

Research shows that having a family history of breast cancer increases the chances that you may be diagnosed with breast cancer, but we do not know whether that means a person is more likely to develop metastatic breast cancer. 

I don’t want to tell my family about my breast cancer. What do I do?

Choose someone you trust to tell about your metastatic breast cancer and provide support as you tell others. It's OK to take some time to process the news before sharing with others. 

I'm scared my metastatic breast cancer will break down my marriage. How can I avoid this?

Be open with your partner about your fears and concerns and about how things may change as you deal with your metastatic breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Make space to hear their feelings, too. Consider speaking with a therapist for more support.

I feel like my family isn't as concerned about my cancer as they should be. What do I do?

Let your family know how you feel, and be specific. Tell them what you need to feel supported and help them understand the disease and your feelings. If they can't provide that support, consider reaching out to other people, like friends or support groups.

Can I kiss someone while undergoing treatment such as chemotherapy?

Some medicines, including some chemotherapies, can be present in your saliva after treatment. You should wait 2 days after treatment for open-mouthed kissing and other activities where you might share bodily fluids.