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EndocrineWeb Community Advice

How far can Thyroid cancer affect a relationship ?

From: Ian - 4 years 33 weeks ago

Hi there,

I hope to have chosen the right topics for this discussion. I am personally not affected by any form of thyroidal disease but my ex girlfriend is. I know this community is not the right place for love-issues but as I feel my situation could have been strongly related to my ex's thyroidal cancer I wanted to have your opinion about it as I have no real clue about whether someone suffering from this situation could unwillingly and unknowingly put its relationship at stake and in my case to an end.

Long story short, my girlfriend got diagnosed with thyroidal cancer like two days before she put an end to our relationship after we had decided to take some time to reflect on her decision to quit our apartment in which we had just moved in (since a month). Apparently it had been there for a while before she got diagnosed. That's why I am wondering if this could have affected her during our entire relationship or at least part of it without her actually knowing some of her actions/decisions/feelings were being lead or influenced by that.

It's been a hard time for me not being able to be there for the person I still love in such a hard time (operation and post-operation) as she refused for me to be there for her even if she broke up with me. I am still wondering if she could realise by herself, with time, that maybe her situation, being affected by this disease, could have influenced her mood and feelings when taking the decision to break-up. I'm wondering if after the operation, with cancer being removed, something could have changed. I know that sounds stupid but, again, I have really no clue about what thyroidal problems can cause to a persons behaviour. I read a lot on the web but not specifically applied to my situation, to feelings.

So, in the end: should I stop thinking about this possibility and get over it once and for all or should I talk to her about this because my "theory" is plausible ?

Sorry if I may sound a little unclear sometimes but it's really hard to explain and resume all what has gone through my mind these last two months. I am looking for some answers to get over it as I feel something great has been taken, not only from me but also from her, in the case that her decisions were not dictated only dictated by her heart.

Thank you and sorry for the long read,


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3 Responses

Is this good advice?

Thyroid issues most definitely can have a dramatic effect on the sufferer's behaviours and ability to rationalise appropriately. There is also the way a cancer diagnosis effects responses. Thyroid can induce panic attacks, anxiety, delusion and a whole raft of physical effects. Physical effects can/do alter our minds - via neural feedback; add to that the possibility that cancer diagnosis can involve huge fear and may also have a subconscious belief system that cancer = death, or prolonged illness. It is likely there is more than one, single factor involved in your GF's decision making at this time. This does not necessarily mean she is making bad decisions or that they are fuelled entirely by her health but it may be a contributing factor. Given the fact that thyroid impacts on ALL body systems it is ignorant and foolhardy to suggest this does not impact on the mind - it absolutely does. When I had my diseased thryroid removed the surgeon offered to write letters to (anyone necessary) explain behavioural changes occurring while the diseased gland ran my life - he commented casually on how many marriages had been damaged or destroyed by the 'behavioural' effects he had seen in his many patients .However, it must be recognised that every individual will have their own symptoms; some people seem relatively unaffected, others have their lives hi-jacked. it is still a very complex, under researched and under acknowledged issue. I'm sorry I cannot give you a clear answer to your questions and can offer no advice or comfort that will help you, or your GF.

Is this good advice?

I have always believed life is all about how you react to things, and this is her way with dealing with it. She is probably scared and does not know exactly how to handle this, which is normal. It is a tough thing to go through and some people choose to do it alone. DO not take it personal. Once things sort of calm down for her or settle down, she could be back around. Or maybe discuss with her that you are here to support her if you want things to work out. Hope this helped!

Is this good advice?

I'm having depression/anxiety following thyroidectomy from papillary thyroid cancer in July 2016. I'm also 50 and approaching menopause also. I don't know if your gf is having depression/anxiety but if she is it definitely can mess with your thoughts and emotions and potentially affect relationships. If she doesn't think anything is wrong and she's not seeking treatment for depression/anxiety I'm sorry to say you should probably move on as this is her new reality and she doesn't see the need to change it. If she's struggling with depression/anxiety and knows it her insight may change but I wouldn't count on it. In my struggling however, I asked my husband to please wait for me to get better because I know my feelings aren't trustworthy right now. I would think it would be helpful for you to talk it out with a therapist to get some perspective.