Secondhand Cancer: The Family of a Cancer Patient Is Sick, Too, They Just Don't Know It: Here's How to Heal

August 20, 2014 3:35 PM

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Secondhand Cancer: The Family of a Cancer Patient Is Sick, Too, They Just Don't Know It: Here's How to Heal

As a hospital social worker, there's nothing quite like being "fired" by a patient's family. When it happened to me, I felt shocked and dismayed. When a comforting co-worker saw the distress on my face and listened to my story, he said, "It's hard on families when someone they love has cancer. They all get knocked down by it."

He was right, and I learned a good lesson: A cancer diagnosis for one member of a family really means that the whole family gets sick. The hard part is that there is only one identified patient in the group. Everyone else just has to limp their way through it. But make no mistake, they are all being...

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