Information for carers
Caring for a person with advanced cancer can feel overwhelming at first. The future may be uncertain and you may feel that everything is out of control. You may both be trying to come to terms with the diagnosis and experiencing a range of strong emotions, such as fear, anger, sadness and grief.
Some people live with advanced cancer for years, and their needs will change as the disease progresses. The demands on you as a carer might increase, and will include physical, emotional and financial changes. You may have many questions and concerns – for example, will they be in pain, will they become depressed, or will they die.
As well as having to manage your emotions, you may also have to tell other family and friends. This can be time-consuming and difficult. If you need advice or support, contact your GP, hospital social worker, a palliative care service, a support group, hospital nurses, your oncologist or Cancer Council 13 11 20.
At first, I didn’t ask for help, because I didn’t want to bother anyone. I see caring as my duty; I have to do it. I now realise people genuinely want to help. They need my help to show them how.Judy
Video: Support for families and friends of people with advanced cancer
Prof Nicholas Glasgow, Head, Calvary Palliative and End of Life Care Research Institute, ACT; Kathryn Bennett, Nurse Practitioner, Eastern Palliative Care Association Inc., VIC; Dr Maria Ftanou, Head, Clinical Psychology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and Research Fellow, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, VIC; Erin Ireland, Legal Counsel, Cancer Council NSW; Nikki Johnston, Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner, Clare Holland House, Calvary Public Hospital Bruce, ACT; Judy Margolis, Consumer; Linda Nolte, Program Director, Advance Care Planning Australia; Kate Reed-Cox, Nurse Practitioner, National Clinical Advisor, Palliative Care Australia; Helena Rodi, Project Manager, Advance Care Planning Australia; Kaitlyn Thorne, Coordinator Cancer Support, 13 11 20, Cancer Council Queensland.
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Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.