Impact of breast cancer diagnosis on partners


Many partners find the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer distressing but are reluctant to seek help for themselves because they feel they need to be ‘strong’.

Partners can experience higher levels of stress than the person diagnosed with cancer. They also have different information needs. Everyone is different and will have his or her own way of coping.

It’s important that women and their partners are open with each other about how they are feeling. Going to appointments together can provide valuable support and can give partners the opportunity to ask questions.

Some partners choose to make a separate appointment with their doctor or another member of the team to discuss how they are feeling.

Some couples choose to see a counsellor or other trained professional together.


Information for men whose partners have been diagnosed with breast cancer

Drawing on interviews with men who have faced the same crisis, this section of the website is designed to help men understand what’s happening to the woman they love.

It suggests what men can do to help the woman they love – and themselves – as they travel the cancer journey. Most of the issues covered in this section are relevant to partners, family and friends of all cancer sufferers.

This section of the website was edited by men for men. Find our more informaton for men here.

Where to find support for partners of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

  • The Cancer Council Helpline – 13 11 20
    The Cancer Council Helpline is a free, confidential telephone information and support service run by Cancer Councils in each state and territory. Specially trained staff can answer questions about all aspects of cancer, including prevention, early detection, and treatment. They can also assist with practical and emotional support and advise callers about specific services appropriate to their needs and location.

    Call The Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20 (cost of a local call from anywhere in Australia) between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday. Some states have extended hours, some have health professionals on staff, and some have multilingual services.
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14
    24-hour telephone helpline staffed by trained volunteer telephone counsellors
  • Beyond Blue
    Community awareness campaign designed to reduce the stigma associated with depression and to promote help-seeking behaviour.
  • Grieflink
    Information resource on death-related grief for the community and health professionals. Based in South Australia but includes some national information.