- Cancer Information
- Caring for someone with cancer
- How relationships can change
- If your caring role ends
If your caring role ends
Many people find that the most challenging time in their caring role is when treatment finishes. As the person you’re caring for starts to get better and tries to resume their usual activities, you could feel a bit lost or not needed anymore. They may even appear to have forgotten how much time and effort you gave. This can be hurtful, but they probably don’t realise how you are feeling.
You may be surprised that the person who has had cancer does not seem happy or relieved that they have been given good news. However, this can actually be a difficult time emotionally, and cancer survivors sometimes experience depression as they adjust to the “new normal”. It is important to communicate openly about how you are both feeling.
Carers often expect to slip back into day-to-day life as it was before they took on the caring role, but this may not be straightforward. You might feel you are still waiting for the next setback. Your life may also have changed. Going back to work or resuming other responsibilities can be overwhelming. Do things at your own pace and give yourself time to adjust. You might be able to return to work part-time or take on fewer responsibilities.
Talking about your feelings with someone you trust can help. Studies show that caring often brings positive changes in life philosophy, relationships and personal growth. However, not everyone finds the caring experience to be rewarding and life-changing. You may need time to reflect on the experience and work out what it has meant to you.
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Tina Chivende, Social Worker, Cancer Psychosocial Service, Canberra Region Cancer Centre, ACT; Gabrielle Asprey, Telephone Support Group Facilitator, Cancer Council NSW; Dr Ben Britton, Senior Clinical and Health Psychologist, Calvary Mater Newcastle and John Hunter Hospital, and Conjoint Lecturer, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, NSW; Valmai Goodwin, Psychologist, Cancer Counselling Service, Cancer Council QLD; Karen Hall, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Zoe Mitchell, Senior Social Worker, Palliative Care, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; Amber Rose, Consumer; Carolina Simpson, Policy and Development Officer, Carers NSW.
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