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.
Video: Support for families and friends of people with advanced cancer
Dr Lucy Gately, Medical Oncologist, Alfred Health and Walter and Eliza Institute for Medical Research, VIC; Dr Katherine Allsopp, Supportive and Palliative Care Specialist, Westmead Hospital, NSW; A/Prof Megan Best, The University of Notre Dame Australia and The University of Sydney, NSW; Dr Keiron Bradley, Palliative Care Consultant, Medical Director Palliative Care Program, Bethesda Health Care, WA; Craig Brewer, Consumer; Emeritus Professor Phyllis Butow, Psychologist, The University of Sydney and Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Louise Durham, Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner Outpatients, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Metro South Palliative Care, QLD; Dr Roya Merie, Radiation Oncologist, ICON Cancer Centre, Concord, NSW; Penny Neller, Project Coordinator, National Palliative Care Projects, Australian Centre for Health Law Research, Queensland University of Technology, QLD; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Xanthe Sansome, Program Director, Advance Care Planning Australia, VIC; Sparke Helmore Lawyers; Peter Spolc, Consumer.
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