Breast cancer: how to cope with the illness of your partner?

If the patients suffer physically and psychologically, their relatives sometimes struggle to find their place. Often underestimated anxiety and psychological disorders. The advice of Dr Floriane Richard Augy to best support his wife.


The first thing for the spouse to do is adjust to the way his wife is coping. Some women don’t want to say anything, others prefer people to know how difficult the situation can be. The spouse must dare to ask the question: what companion do you want me to be? That I go with you or that we do not feel that you are sick? Indeed, depending on a woman’s personality type, the support may be different.

Dare to make physical contact

Women are weakened by disease, fear and physical mutilation. Despite everything, they want to feel like a woman, beautiful and loved. Spouses should not hesitate to offer hugs. You have to find the right time and start over if necessary, if the partner does not feel ready or available. The spouse should not be discouraged, the cancer lasts for months, even years. A woman may want to be alone and after needing tenderness, love. Regarding the physical and sexual relationship, it’s tailor-made. We must succeed in managing the fact of not giving up and at the same time, not to put pressure on it, not to add tensions. It can be discussed between couples, the husband should be able to talk about it but never in a moment of conflict.


Women need their husbands to have confidence in them and in the fight they are leading. And that they keep their morale up. If he encounters anxieties, he must consult or contact an association. The problem is that the accompanying persons do not know what to do with the anxiety. They must therefore allow themselves and have a space to talk about it. If they keep their anxieties, they will come out one day.

To relieve

The last important thing is to relieve his wife and delegate some tasks. Do not hesitate to ask her, to be proactive, to accompany her in her medical examinations and administrative procedures and to accept that she refuses.

Thanks to Floriane Richard Augy, adult psychiatrist based in Paris (8e).

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