Maggie’s sets out ways to fight the stress of living with cancer

Robin Parkinson.
Robin Parkinson.

Maggie’s Forth Valley has found that two thirds of people living with cancer believe diagnosis and treatment has had an impact on their relationship.

The cancer charity says feelings of stress, anger, fear, sorrow and worry were all cited as

key factors which put relationships under strain.

Maggie’s says many people find cancer brings them closer together – spending more time together due to the multiple hospital appointments, and spending more quality time together to make every moment count.

But equally the profound changes cancer brings can sometimes drive a wedge between partners.

Robin Parkinson, Clinical Psychologist at Maggie’s Forth Valley said: “It can be a difficult time when you or someone you care about is trying to deal with cancer.

“Diagnosis and treatment for cancer can lead to many physical changes, but also emotional changes too.

These can affect personal relationships, including changes in mood, change in appearance,fatigue, lack of motivation, loss of libido, pain and discomfort.

“These symptoms can create additional pressure on a relationship, which can lead to withdrawal and isolation, and you may feel like you are drifting apart from your partner”.

He added: “At Maggie’s Forth Valley, we can provide advice on how to approach difficult conversations with your partner and are here to just listen to how you feel if it all suddenly gets too much.

We understand what people are going through and the key thing is that you’re not alone.”

Maggie’s Forth Valley has outlined some tips on how to manage relationships when a loved one has cancer:

 * Be gentle with yourself when it comes to interacting with others.

You might find yourself snappy, grumpy or short tempered – this is understandable and at times, unavoidable.

Make amends, talk it over when you are calmer, and try and give yourself a break. Self-criticism will only make things worse.

 * We all like to try and protect our loved ones from distress.

This can lead to us keeping things to ourselves, increasing a sense of isolation.

Try and remember that we’re not upsetting someone else if we talk about something upsetting. The emotions

are there anyway, and being together with these feelings is better than experiencing

them alone.

 * Remember you do not have to take on all the responsibility for updating friends and family about what is happening. Perhaps ask someone close to you to take on this role, with agreed rules such as who is to be told what, and how.

 * Low mood, anxiety and fatigue can lead us to withdraw and become isolated. While you should make sure you have time to yourself, when you feel like it try and maintain even just a small amount of contact within important relationships.

Perhaps even warn friends and family that this might happen and ask them to reach out to you in a way you find easy to manage.

If you would like to speak to someone at Maggie’s Forth Valley you can get in touch on 01324