We may laugh when we hear about the husband who suffers cravings or back pain along with his pregnant wife, but it’s no laughing matter when it comes to the very real health issues that husbands are now believed to experience when caring for their wives who have breast cancer.

According to an article on Medical News Today  a study shows that “caring for a wife with breast cancer can have a measurable negative effect” on a man’s health, including physical ailments such as headaches, fatigue and abdominal pain.

Perhaps this is no surprise given the level of stress and worry that a caregiver or someone simply living with a breast cancer patient can have. Caregivers very often need some care of their own and their health or lack thereof can have an impact on the breast cancer patient.

Researchers in charge of the study suggest that clinicians caring for breast cancer patients should check on the caregiver’s health and suggest ways to relieve stress and maintain health.

“If you care for the caregiver, your patient gets better care, too,” said Kristen Carpenter, a postdoctoral researcher in psychology at Ohio State and a study co-author.

It seems the more we discover about the ability of the mind to heal or harm the body, the more we have to consider the implications to people beyond the actual patient. Breast cancer affects hundreds of thousands of people in the US every year and when you figure in their husbands, children, mothers, fathers, friends, the number of people who can be affected is staggering.

Studies like these require funding. One way to make sure funding is available for research is to give to a breast cancer organization such as the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation which raises awareness and funds for Breast Cancer Advocacy, Education and Research. You can also show your support by donating clothing, furniture and other household items to Pickupsforbreastcancer.org, an organization that provides free donation pickup in South Florida to help support the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation.