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NCCN Guidelines for Patients


Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer, Version 1.2017


Living your life

Will my relationships change?

Will my relationships change?

Friends and family can react to a cancer diagnosis

in different ways. Some find the perfect balance of

support and normalcy. Others are unsure of what

to say and may distance themselves from you. Still

others can become very focused on helping you each

step of the way.

Navigating your relationships with friends and family

members requires a mix of honesty, patience, and

self-protection. You might feel like you are telling the

same story over and over again. To let people know

what is going on, consider one or all of the following



Ask a friend or family member to serve as

information central, keeping people updated

on your condition, and fielding questions and

messages, so you don’t get overwhelmed.


Start a blog. The website

www.familypatient. com


is a free service

that you or your information central person

can use to post updates on your health.


Use e-mail or social media to send messages

on how you’re doing and what you need.

*An important note of caution: what you post online

or through social media may exist on the internet

indefinitely. Be mindful about what you post now and

how you may feel about this information in the future.

Talking with your partner

If you’re married or in a relationship, it’s important to

be open with your partner about the details of your

treatment plan and its likely effect on your sex life.

Side effects of treatment such as fatigue, vaginal

dryness, hair loss, skin problems, and scarring can

sometimes make sex stressful and downright painful.

Before you begin treatment, sit down with your

partner and your doctor to discuss what side effects

you can expect. It’s good to think about the side

effects and the impact on your sexuality.

Talk to your doctor about your sexual health to find

out if there is anything that can be done to help. As

you go through treatment, be honest with your partner

about what you are going through physically and

emotionally. Even if sexual intercourse is not possible,

you can maintain your physical intimacy by continuing

to caress, hold, and kiss one another.

Talking with children

If you’re a parent, telling your children about your

cancer can be one of the most challenging things

about the disease. It may be tempting to put on a

brave face and try to protect them from the news. But

kids are very aware, and they're likely to know that

something is wrong whether you tell them or not.

Books that can help


Peter VanDerNoot.

Helping Your

Children Cope with Your Cancer



Edition): A Guide for Parents

and Families. Long Island City, NY:

Hatherleigh Press, 2006.


Kathleen McCue, Ron Bonn.


to Help Children Through a Parent’s

Serious Illness: Supportive, Practical

Advice from a Leading Child Life


New York, NY: St. Martin’s

Griffin, 2011.