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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I offer support to my wife who has been diagnosed with bowel cancer?

    My wife has been diagnosed with bowel cancer at 57. I worry about putting pressure on her by continuously asking her how she is feeling while we are waiting for the hospital to contact us re her surgery. She has a very positive attitude… probably more so than I do. But if I don't discuss it regularly I worry she will think I'm not caring.
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  • Bowel Cancer Australia is the leading community-funded charity dedicated to prevention, early diagnosis, research, quality treatment and care for everyone affected by bowel cancer. We … View Profile

    Thank you for your question. Yes this is certainly a problem for many partners of newly diagnosed bowel cancer patients.

    Firstly I would recommend you just be there for her to talk to when she needs to. The fact that you are asking the questions she knows you care and that you are open to discussing anything she might be concerned about.

    When patients are first diagnosed, they often comment it takes time to process their diagnosis and to consider all possibilities from treatment to post treatment and just focusing on their next step into their cancer journey. You are doing all the right things in supporting your wife by purely being there when she needs you. By ensuring various ‘everyday’ jobs are taken care of, it just takes the load off the mind in ways one can not explain.

    Further ways to help support your wife, depending on her areas of need, if she has any nutritional issues due to her bowel changes and requiring advice on her diet you can contact our Nutrition advisory service via

    You may also be interested to read the various patient information booklets Bowel cancer Australia publish, all of which are available on our website at

    I hope this helps.

    Please feel free to contact us anytime for individualised advice at:

    Bowel Cancer Australia Nutrition Adviser -


    Bowel Cancer Australia Nurse Adviser -

    Kind Regards,
    Bowel Cancer Australia Nurse Adviser

    Please Note: The information provided by Bowel Cancer Australia’s Nurse and Nutritionist Advisory Services is intended for Australian residents as a reference guide only. It is not a substitute for independent professional advice and is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or disorder.

    If you believe your symptoms are consistent with those of bowel cancer or a digestive illness, please consult your doctor.

    Bowel Cancer Australia, its directors, officers or medical professionals shall not be liable to any person, company or any other body for any loss, direct or indirect or consequential on whatsoever account for any omission or negligent misstatement.

  • missmuffettwo1

    HealthShare Member

    I had a shock diagnosis of stage 3 colon cancer at age 59 in October 2013. Having supported my husband through 2 heart attacks and 3 back surgeries I had an idea what being the spouse of a patient is like. I try to share everything with him but sometimes you just have to get on with it alone. I think it's nature's way of preparing you for possible future seperation? Anyway, my advice is to make extra effort to show affection in little ways, holding hands, hugging etc. as it's natural to shy away from physical contact when you think a person is feeling ill or tired. I often just want a hug when I'm physically at my lowest. I've been fortunate to have successful surgery within 2 weeks of my diagnosis and now 6 months of chemotherapy via a chest port is nearly half over. My prognosis is very good, my tumor levels are back to normal. Good luck and keep a positive attitude will really help.

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