Since the psychological aspects of cancer illness are frequently relegated to the background, family members of cancer patients often find themselves occupying the shadows of public interest. The author intends to enable such family members to take a step out of those shadows. The content of her dissertation is giving attention primarily to family member’s but also to patient’s psychological distress and it's recognition with screening instruments. However it is also positive experiences that are accounted on: In certain instances, it appears directly on account of the numerous associated strains that many of those affected (patients and family members) speak of finding meaning in the challenges of the illness and of experiencing a feeling of personal growth. Basis of the dissertation are two scientific projects which have led to the present publication as well as to three separately published reports. In the present publication the author gives a detailed overview on the literature of the above mentioned subjects and interlinks the literature with results of the two projects.