Will chemo affect my family?

Cancer isn’t catching. You can be close to family and friends. Getting chemo won’t harm anybody else either. Your cancer care team will tell you if there are any special things you need to do at home because of the chemo.

If you have side effects, your family and friends can do things to help. When someone asks, “How can I help?” have a few ideas ready.

  • You may not feel like eating, so ask loved ones to take turns cooking foods that you think you can eat.
  • You might get tired after each treatment and need extra rest. Ask your friends and neighbors to do little jobs for you until you feel better.
  • Your treatment may take a long time. Ask a friend to drive you and keep you company during treatment.

Keep in mind that your family cares about you, and they may feel upset about your cancer and the chemo. Let your family and friends know how much their support means to you. Be honest about how you feel. Get into the habit of talking things over with your loved ones so they can share your ups and downs.

There will be times when the people closest to you feel tired or sad, too. You can help them feel better by reminding them how important they are to you. You can also point out how much their support and help means to you.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: March 15, 2016 Last Revised: March 15, 2016

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