Tracey Patch is one of many breast cancer survivors whose marriage did not survive after diagnosis

Posted at 8:55 PM, Jun 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-27 23:37:36-04

Tracey Patch fought hard to beat breast cancer, but lost her marriage in the process.

Diagnosed in March 2014, she had already been married two years. But Patch said her marriage started having problems when she started to become sick from chemo and surgery.

Patch said her husband traveled part-time for a living and when he was home they enjoyed doing things together.

"He was a very kind person and loving, but I just think he did not, could not handle me being sick and unable to do things," Patch explained.

Dr. Jessica Hamilton, a psychologist at the University of Kansas Cancer Center, explained that it is rare but some men and women do leave their spouses following a breast cancer diagnosis.

"However, the marriage that does not survive usually had problems before the breast cancer diagnosis," said Dr. Hamilton.

A study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute confirms Dr. Hamilton's statement that breast cancer and divorce is rare.

"Many times spouses cannot deal with the added stress of role changes and sickness that comes with breast cancer," Dr. Hamilton added. 

Patch's friends came to the rescue bringing her food and going to chemotherapy appointments with her. Patch's sister was also by her side helping her whenever possible.

Her friend, Lindsay Stamper, was leading the effort and even started running with Patch when she was going through chemotherapy and wanted to start running again.

"It was amazing because as I was helping Tracey, other friends were helping me so I would be available to help her," said Stamper.

"I'm so grateful for my friends. I don't know how I would have made it without them," said Patch.

Watch the video below to hear more from Dr. Hamilton on why divorce sometimes happens after a breast cancer diagnosis and how that person can respond and how friends can help. 


Cynthia Newsome can be reached at

Follow her on Twitter:

Follow @CynthiaNewsome

Connect on Facebook: