Today is National Sibling Day. In this blog, Senior Editor Elissia discusses the impact of a brother or sister being diagnosed with cancer, and how you can support your sibling.
How you might feel
Everyone’s relationships with their siblings are different. But for a lot of people, their brother or sister being diagnosed with cancer can be an extremely difficult and upsetting time. You may have many different feelings, including shock, grief, anger and anxiety.
If you already have a difficult or complicated relationship with your sibling, these feelings could make this more difficult. But cancer can also bring you closer, as you deal with the challenges together.
How your role might change
You might find that your role in the family, as well as your relationship with your brother or sister changes. For example, if they are having treatment they may not have the energy to do things they did before. So you, and other family members, may need to do those things instead.
You may find that helping out or spending more time with your sibling means you have less time for other things, such as socialising or working. If life is becoming very busy, it may help to write down a list of priorities. You could do this as a family, or just with your sibling, to plan which things are most important.
Talking and listening can help your brother or sister cope with their emotions. You may be close already and have an honest relationship. So, talking might feel natural. Or, you may find communication difficult, especially if it is about a more serious topic. Here are some tips for talking and listening that may help:
Practical ways to support your sibling
You might really want to help, but are not sure how to. Here are some ideas of how you can support your brother or sister:
Supporting your brother or sister can be rewarding and may bring you closer together. But it can also be difficult and sometimes upsetting. It’s important to make sure you look after yourself and get the support you need:
Remember that there is no right way to support someone with cancer. The thing your brother or sister will value most is your care and compassion. We have lots of information about Talking with someone who has cancer.
If you need more support, or would just like to talk, call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00. You could also explore the Online Community.
To see what else Macmillan's cancer information team has been blogging about, please visit our blog home page! You can subscribe to receive our blogs by email or RSS too.
We're with you every step of the way
The Macmillan team is here to help. Our cancer support specialists can answer your questions, offer support, or simply listen if you need a chat. Call us free on 0808 808 00 00.
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