About 4 in 10 partners of young breast cancer survivors experience anxiety, according to a study being presented at the 2017 Cancer Survivorship Symposium.1

Although previous research demonstrated the challenges of cancer care giving, few studies have evaluated the experience of partners of young adults with cancer.

Investigators enrolled 289 partners of young women with breast cancer diagnosed at 40 or younger to complete a 1-time survey, which included the Brief COPE measurement tool, assessing psychosocial concerns including anxiety, coping, depression, financial insecurity, parenting concerns, partnership concerns, quality of life, and social support.

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About 98% were male, 93% were white, 94% worked full-time, and 78% were college-educated. Median time of survey completion was 62 months following their partner’s diagnosis of cancer.

Results showed that 42% of 250 evaluable respondents experienced anxiety, 29% reported some financial stress, and 32% reported at least a fair amount of relationship concern.

After adjusting for multiple variables, researchers found that partners who used maladaptive coping were twice as likely to experience symptoms of anxiety (odds ratio, 2.32; 95% CI, 1.22-4.39; P < .01).

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The findings highlight the need for additional interventions to help family members and partners of young cancer survivors cope in positive way and express their needs.


  1. Borstelmann N, Rosenberg SM, Gelber SI, et al. Partners of young breast cancer survivors: A cross-sectional evaluation of psychosocial issues and mental health. J Clin Oncol. 2017;35(suppl):5S. Abstract 184.