If you are starting a new relationship

Starting a new relationship can be exciting, but sometimes a bit scary too. It can be fun getting to know someone and letting them get to know you. But you might find it difficult to know how to talk about cancer.

If you are still having cancer treatment, a new partner may not understand what you are going through. If you meet someone after you have finished cancer treatment, they may not even know you had cancer. Perhaps you don’t really want to talk about it or feel it’s too soon to tell them. If the cancer has affected your body, sex life or fertility, you may be worried about how a new partner will react.

It is your decision how, when and what you tell a new partner. Some people want to be honest about their experiences from the start of a relationship. Others prefer to wait. It can help to talk to someone else before deciding what to do. You might choose to talk to a family member, friend or professional. Or you could contact an organisation for support. We have more information about talking about sex and relationships that may help.

If you decide it is the right time to talk to your partner, think about what you want them to understand. For example, what are the most important things for you? Or, what are the things that worry you?

Relationships are often made stronger by good communication and honesty. Here are some tips:

  • Think about how much you want to share. You may only want to tell your partner the type of cancer or some things about your treatment.
  • Introduce the subject gently. You could start with something like: ‘This is going to be difficult, but I need to tell you something.’.
  • Try to give small amounts of information. Your partner may not be able to take everything in at one time.
  • When you start talking, remember to listen too. Your partner might have different questions or worries that they want to talk about.