Tips for Families on Surviving Cancer

Breast Cancer, Family Health, Featured Article, Women's Health
on October 1, 2010

Cancer has many forms of brutality: the fight families face, the suffering and grief when a wife, mother or daughter dies. Below, husbands, sons and daughters offer advice for weathering the battle.

Listen and love. “Show her love, hold her, give her gifts,” says John W. Anderson, 50, author of Stand By Her. “Make her feel good about herself as a woman. Follow her lead; it’s her body.”

Get help. “Men aren’t socialized to express their grief,” says New York psychologist Alyson Moadel. “But it’s OK to be sad and to reach out for help.” Call a local cancer center or Google “bereavement services.”

Enjoy the good days. “There are a lot of tough days, but enjoy what you can,” says Scott Pipitone, of Pittsburgh, Pa., who lost his wife, Stella Ann, to breast cancer in 2009. Pipitone sponsors Strength and Courage (, which produces fitness DVDs for breast cancer survivors distributed free through oncology practices nationwide.