Partners of cancer survivors "experience similar emotional costs"

In collaboration with the Press Association

Cancer survivors' partners are almost as likely to develop depression as the survivors themselves, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Florida.

Partners were also less likely to receive mental health treatment than cancer survivors.

They also reported less social support, spiritual well-being, marital satisfaction, and more loneliness than survivors.

The study, published in Journal of Clinical Oncology, highlights the impact that a cancer diagnosis can have on family and friends.

Michelle Bishop, research assistant professor, University of Florida, and the study's lead author, said: "These findings highlight the importance of addressing the needs of family members who care for cancer patients, and who may be suffering in silence."

Martin Ledwick, Information Nurse Manager at Cancer Research UK, added: "About half of the enquiries received by Cancer Research UK's Cancer Information Nurses come from relatives and friends of people with cancer. So it's clear to us that partners, relatives and friends all have needs when someone is affected by cancer.

"It's important to remember that this study is relatively small. But it is good to see this subject being investigated. Partners of people with cancer often form a vital role in providing support, so it is really important that we learn as much as we can about their needs too."