Practical concerns

Caring for someone who has advanced cancer can impact your life significantly, and you may need to make certain adjustments to your day-to-day life.

Learn more about:

Work and income

You may need time off work to attend medical appointments or to care for the person with cancer. Explain your situation to your employer. Most employers appreciate honesty and will try to accommodate your needs.

Check your entitlements because you may be eligible for time off. Some employers will let you take annual leave, long service leave or leave without pay.

You may be eligible for a carer payment from the government if you provide constant care for the person with cancer (whether or not you work outside the home). To find out more, visit

Speak to your hospital social worker about other sources of financial assistance. You may be eligible to access Cancer Council’s Legal and Financial Referral Service. Cancer Council also has free resources about your rights in regard to care and work. Call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to learn more.

Accepting help

Not all your family and friends will know how to respond and provide support – some may not know what to do or even avoid contacting you at first. They may want to avoid thinking about their own death or be afraid of saying the wrong thing, so instead say nothing.

This doesn’t necessarily mean family and friends don’t care; they may be having trouble coping with the diagnosis. The list below shows various ways that family, friends, work colleagues and neighbours can help.

Practical ideas for carers

  • Use group text messages, email, and other social media platforms or record a message on an answering machine to let people know what is happening. This avoids having to repeat information.
  • Ask someone to take on the role of information provider. Make sure this person has the latest information.
  • Place a message on the door when it is a good time for visitors.
  • Turn off the phone and have a rest when the person with cancer is resting.
  • Take time out. There will be times when you feel exhausted or overwhelmed. This is normal. Sit outside, or go for a walk or a drive.
  • Chat to people you trust about what is happening. It helps them understand what you are going through and helps you release any concerns or stresses you have.
  • Involve friends and family – try not to do everything yourself. Sometimes people need to be told specifically what they can do, for example, providing a meal or picking up the kids from school.
  • Keep all information about the person you’re caring for in one place. This could include emergency contacts, details of advance care planning documents and a list of medicines.
  • Be realistic about how much you can do, as doing too much may affect how well you cope. Do more of what is important and less of what isn’t.
  • Use Carer Gateway’s ‘Find a service’ search function to locate home help, transport, counselling and support groups near you. See
  • Connect with someone who has had a similar experience. Call Cancer Council 13 11 20 for more information.

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on living with advanced cancer.

Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit:


To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit:

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit:

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in December 2016
View who reviewed this content
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Support services

Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum

Need legal and financial assistance?
Pro bono services, financial and legal assistance, and no interest loans

Cancer information

What is cancer?
How cancer starts and spreads

Dealing with the diagnosis
Common reactions to a cancer diagnosis and how to find hope

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends