Impact of Cancer on Romantic Relationships Among Young Adults: A Systematic Review

  • Carolyn Rabin


The aim of this review was to determine the impact of a cancer diagnosis and history on young adults’ ability to initiate and maintain romantic relationships. MedLine and PsycInfo databases were used to identify articles that address dating, romantic relationships, or marriage among 18- to 45-year-old cancer survivors. Twenty-one relevant articles were identified. Findings indicate that young adult cancer survivors struggle with when/how to disclose their cancer history to potential partners, are delayed in initiating their first romantic relationships, have fewer romantic relationships than peers, and are less likely than peers to marry. Young survivors report that their cancer experience impacts their long-term relationships in both positive and negative ways. In summary, young survivors face significant barriers to establishing and maintaining romantic relationships. Those who have difficulty establishing romantic relationships may benefit from receiving additional support from other sources, including family members, friends, and (in some cases) mental health professionals.


Young adult Cancer survivors Dating Relationships 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Carolyn Rabin declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical PsychologyWilliam James CollegeNewtonUSA

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