- Be prepared for your role and relationship to change: When someone close to you receives a cancer diagnosis, you may find yourself helping them with things that they were able to do before. As a new situation for your both, it is normal to feel stressed or confused at times but try not to keep your feelings bottled up.
- Your own self-care is important too: When caring for someone with cancer, it can be easy to put all your focus into helping them. But, you mustn’t forget your own needs and wellbeing. If possible, have regular breaks from caregiving where you can do an activity you enjoy, talk to others, or practice some self-care.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help: If you are finding the physical, emotional, or financial demands of being a carer tough, reach out to others. Support for family members of cancer patients is available in many forms including support groups, charities, funding, counselling, and other people.
When you find out that someone you care about has cancer, it can be a worrying time. It’s natural to be anxious about what their diagnosis means for them, and you. You may find yourself stepping into a carer’s role by giving unpaid help. This can be anything from driving them to medical appointments to providing emotional support as they undergo treatment.
The assistance you give is likely to vary depending on your relationship with the person, what their needs are and your health. Regardless of the circumstances, however, caring for someone with cancer can be hard. You’ll likely feel a range of emotions and have days where juggling their care alongside work, home and family is tough.
Support for the relatives of cancer patients is important too. That’s why we have put together this guide about where to get the support that will help you and your loved ones as you navigate caring for someone with cancer.
Adapting to becoming a carer
Here at Perci Health, we understand the difficulties and challenges that those affected by cancer face. We also know that after someone you care about receives a cancer diagnosis, there is likely to be a period of learning and understanding for you both.
For cancer patients, it can be frustrating to no longer be able to do certain things and they can feel guilty about needing support from others. It can also be embarrassing for them to need help, especially if it includes aspects of personal care such as bathing and going to the toilet.
You may face challenges too. It will take time to transition, especially if the dynamic of your relationship has changed and you find yourself needing to do tasks that you aren’t used to doing.
Approach the situation with empathy and keep communication open between you. Don’t be scared to seek help from other people or places too.
Who can support me?
If you are wondering where to get support for carers of cancer patients like yourself, there are plenty of organisations that are there for you and your family. They can provide information that can help you to understand your loved one’s diagnosis, give you a safe place to discuss your feelings, offer you a break when things get too much, and help you access financial support too.
The emotional impact of a cancer diagnosis can be incredibly hard to navigate. As a career, it can be particularly tough to juggle the help you provide with your own feelings and welfare. Having emotional support can be invaluable for both you and the loved one you care for.
Here at Perci Health, we offer support from experts for carers and cancer patients. We have dedicated cancer nurse specialists who can answer any questions you may have and specialist cancer psychologists that can help you work through your emotions.
There are a range of charities and organisations that support cancer patients and their carers for free by providing information, running support groups, delivering training, offering advice, and more.
- Maggie’s is a charity with centres across the UK that provide information and support for anyone affected by cancer. There’s no need to book an appointment, just turn up and ask for help.
- The Carers Trust is a charity that offers support services to unpaid carers. Get help with finances and advice to help you manage as a carer.
A cancer diagnosis can cause financial strain, especially if the person with cancer is unable to work or you need to change your working arrangements to care for them. If you need help understanding what financial support you are entitled to or want to find out more about funding, many places can help.
- Macmillian can provide details of grants and loans you may be able to access, as well as details about how to claim for Carer’s Allowance. They also have a free phone line and can provide physical support for your loved one.
- The Citizen’s Advice Bureau partners with Macmillian to provide advice on welfare benefits for those affected by cancer.
Support groups and forums
Being a carer for someone with cancer can lead you to feel sad, frustrated, guilty, stressed, and lonely. It can be beneficial to talk to others that understand what you are going through.
- Cancer Research is an excellent source of information but they also have a 24-hour Cancer Chat forum where you can speak to moderators and others going through similar experiences.
- Carers UK is a hub of information for cancer patients and their families. They provide advice on a huge range of topics and have an online forum for carers.
- You will also find support groups and forums online for specific types of cancer that you and your loved one can use such as Blood Cancer UK and Pancreatic Cancer UK.
Marie Curie offers in house help from volunteers, free nursing support and end of life care.
Remember to ask for help from family and friends
As a carer for someone with cancer, it can feel like you are carrying a lot on your shoulders. You may feel like it’s up to you to take on all the responsibilities associated with their care. But, it can be beneficial to reach out to your wider circle of family and friends to see if they can offer some help.
Take time to identify your capabilities and limitations and make decisions about where you could benefit from an extra pair of hands. It could be that someone doing the weekly food shop for you would help or that another family member being the main point of contact for updates will give you more time to focus on other tasks.
If you are seeking emotional support for caregivers, why not tell your employer about Perci Health? Our virtual cancer care clinic provides access to more than 20 types of cancer experts and professionals for employees impacted by cancer.
Find out more about getting cancer support in the workplace.
Here at Perci Health, we are here to support anyone that has been impacted by cancer. If you think you or your loved one could benefit from virtual access to high-quality cancer specialists, find out more about our support types or how we help those supporting someone with cancer.