Family Support in Cancer Survivorship


This paper raises issues about the role of family members in providing support for breast cancer survivors. Data were collected from 400 breast cancer survivors in Peninsular Malaysia through a custom-designed questionnaire fielded at hospitals and support group meetings. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The analyses show that all family members could be supportive, especially in decision making and help with emotional issues. The spouse was the main support provider among the family members (others were children, parents, siblings and more distant relatives). The results also indicated that a significant percentage practiced collaborative decision-making. Breast cancer survivors needed their family members’ support for information on survivorship strategies such as managing emotions, health, life style and dietary practice. The family members’ supportive role may be linked to the Malaysian strong family relationship culture. For family members to contribute more adequately to cancer survivorship, it is suggested that appropriate educational intervention also be provided to them.