More than 1 in 3 people will get cancer in their lifetime. Take a moment to look around you, be it in your workplace or home, 1 in 3 of the people you know and care about will get cancer, that includes you. If you're a man it's even worse.
Men are 16% more likely to get cancer than women and a whopping 40% more likely to die from it. If you take out gender specific cancers such as breast cancer for women and lung cancer for men, the statistics are even more scary. Men are 60% more likely to get cancer and 70% more likely to die from it. There is no known biological reason for the gender difference (Cancer Research UK).
At the top of your cancer check list should be your relationship with your partner/spouse. 50% of relationships experience difficulty following a cancer diagnosis. Figures indicate that men are more likely to leave a spouse due to serious illness. One in three women with cancer (who experienced a separation) cited their illness as the primary cause compared to one in five men.
The nature of a relationship changes when a person is seriously ill. A drastic change in physical appearance and increased dependence on a spouse is often enough to trigger the flight of a partner. Although this is more common with men, the social expectations on women to be 'carers' often leads to a situation where a woman will remain for the sake of appearances but will inflict real emotional damage to a partner she increasingly resents.
'You're lucky if they leave immediately' one cancer counsellor explained 'although it is intensely painful to see your partner leave, it is better than experiencing their anger as they scream for attention if they stay'.
So as you sit down to construct a cancer check list, take a long hard look at your partner. Ask testing questions and don't ignore your instincts. Pre-existing relationship problems are more likely to come to the fore. If you don't like the answers you get, then it is time you had a plan B in case of the big C.