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What Is CanThrive?


People respond to breast cancer in many different ways. Normal reactions sometimes include the following:

Distress, Fatigue, Hope, Confusion, Challenge, Optimism, Appreciation

Most people will go through a combination of these and other experiences. Not only does breast cancer affect those diagnosed, but it also affects the people around them. The couple and family are often most touched by the experience.

CanThrive offers assistance to couples as they encounter the challenges of breast cancer.


CanThrive, funded by the National Cancer Institute, seeks to assist couples in making decisions and maintaining a positive quality of life as they face breast cancer.

Each couple receives one of three services ― described below ― to help them make cancer-related decisions as they participate in CanThrive  over a 12-week time period.  Couples then return 6 and 12 months afterward for assessments.

Couples’ participation also improves researchers’ understanding of ways in which partners support each other through the breast cancer experience.


Complete Assessments
All participating couples have four assessments during which they complete questionnaires and have cancer-related discussions with their partner.  In addition, CanThrive  women complete daily ratings during two 30-day periods using our telephone reporting system. 

Receive Services
During their participation in CanThrive, couples receive one of three services:

Cancer-Focused Relationship Enhancement
Couples meet individually with a Health Educator to learn about ways to support each other and communicate about breast cancer-related issues.

Couple’s Cancer Education
Couples meet individually with a Health Educator to discuss the medical aspects of breast cancer and treatment options.

Cancer-Related Community and Internet Resources
Couples receive a list of the names and contact information for community and national support groups, breast cancer organizations, and other resources.

Receive Compensation
Each couple receives $200 for full participation in CanThrive.

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