Impact of Childhood Cancer on Emerging Adult Survivors’ Romantic Relationships

Everyone strives for the highest possible quality of life – including young cancer survivors. Many areas of life affect the quality of life, one of them is a good social integration with other people. Especially in adolescence and young adulthood, first experiences with romantic relationships and love are an important aspect of development. The disease of cancer can have an impact on romantic relationships, as explained in this article.

The study interviewed young survivors between 18 and 25 years of age about their priorities and perspectives in life, their concerns about sharing their disease story with others, a sometimes negative body image as a result of the disease, and also side effects of treatment and concerns about their fertility. Relationship problems and difficulties in developing emotional and physical intimacy in relationships were also mentioned by survivors. Once again, it should therefore be pointed out that in many cases, cancer is a life-changing experience. Difficulties of various kinds do not end once treatment is completed – even in life “after cancer”, old difficulties can remain or new ones can arise that affect young people’s lives.

The article also calls for topics relevant to development, such as love and romance, to be addressed within aftercare, as they are important markers of long-term quality of life.