Cancer information for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander People

Family and carers

Looking after someone with cancer

Am I a carer?

You are a ‘carer’ if you’re helping someone who has cancer. Many carers are family members, but you don’t have to be – you could be a friend or neighbour. Some carers help out full-time and others do a few things for a short time. The amount of caring you do might change over time. For example, if the person with cancer gets sicker, you might do more.

How can I help the person?

There are many ways to help someone with cancer. What you do depends on how much time you spend caring. You might:

  • talk to the doctors and nurses
  • do things around the house, like make dinner and wash up
  • look after the kids
  • do the shopping
  • give the person medicine
  • listen to the person
  • look after the money.

I don’t always like being a carer. Is this normal?

Even if you love the person with cancer, you might not always feel happy about looking after them. Sometimes it can be hard if you have other family members to look after too. It’s okay to feel mad, annoyed, stressed, guilty, lonely, sad, tired or scared.

What if I do something wrong?

You might worry about doing something wrong and getting blamed. The important thing is that you’re doing your best. Don’t feel guilty or blame yourself. You won’t get payback for doing something wrong. If you are feeling very worried or upset, talk to your doctor. They might be able to help you.

Who can help me?

Asking for help can make caring easier. Friends or family might be able to do some jobs so you have time for other things. Carers Australia can also give advice and support. Ask the doctors and nurses if they know about any home help or nursing services. They might recommend respite care, which means you can have a short break while someone else cares for the person with cancer.

Can I get any money to help me?

Some carers can get payments from Centrelink. If you work part-time or full-time, talk to your manager about what leave you can take.