“I wish you held my hand” - the dyadic nature of coping with cancer

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Breast cancer is an illness of the couple, not a disease of the patient1. Elevated levels of spousal distress (anxiety, depressed mood) and problems in marital communication have been documented in both cross sectional and longitudinal studies2.
Despite the magnitude of spouses' distress and its potential impact on their wives' adjustment, there are few descriptive studies of the concerns spouses explicitly attribute to their wives' breast cancer. Of the limited number of studies, study samples have been small and heterogeneous on the type of cancer, disease staging, or length of time of diagnosis.