The Way Cancer Affects Families Emotionally

Male Doctor

According to the National Cancer Centre Singapore, more than 25% of cancers diagnosed in women are breast cancers. The news of a family member having cancer can affect the household in many different ways. It is completely reasonable to fear for that family member’s life, as cancer is usually associated with the term ‘pain.’

Upon hearing the news, you may feel confused or downtrodden. You may even proclaim the unfairness of the world. But you should remember that you need to stay calm and collected. This is one way of boosting the morale of the affected family member.

But how does cancer affect family members emotionally?

Sadness and Denial

Shock and fear are the first emotions you may feel after hearing the news. But as these feelings subside, denial and sadness may take over. You may even feel tempted to consult more doctors in hopes that it was just a misdiagnosis. At times, denial and sadness lead to bouts of anxiety and depression due to the uncertainty of the situation.


Anger may be fuelled by guilt. This type of anger, however, is directed toward one’s self.  At this point, you may wish that it was you who had the disease. External anger, on the other hand, is often focused on the perceived ‘inefficiency’ of hospital staff and ‘ineffectiveness’ of treatments and tests.

Difficulty Managing Your Social Life

The family members may find it hard to socialise with friends. There are some occasions where they may feel jealous of others who do not undergo the same ordeal.

Struggle of Breaking the News to Others

Thinking of how you are going to break the news to others can be hurtful and problematic. It may be difficult, but you should be open as much as possible. That way, you get the emotional support you need to get through the tough times.

Dealing with these emotional challenges is tough, especially if you do not have a support system. If you feel like things are getting out of hand, do not hesitate to seek the advice and guidance of a qualified counsellor.