- Cancer Information
- Supporting someone with cancer
- Caring for someone with cancer
- Your role as a carer
- Planning for the future
Planning for the future
A cancer diagnosis can make it difficult to talk about the future, especially if you’re feeling optimistic or are uncertain about the possible outcomes of treatment. It is never too early to think about how you will manage if the situation changes. Knowing plans are in place can help ease worries, give you a sense of control and allow you both to focus more fully on the present.
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An emergency care plan is a document that provides direction and instructions to allow others to provide the care that you would usually provide. Think about the best people to fulfil your carer’s role. Discuss the duties with them and ask for their commitment, then give them and your doctors a copy of the plan. Let the person you’re caring for know about the alternative arrangements. It is a good idea to carry a carer emergency card in your wallet. This tells people that you are a carer and who to contact in an emergency.
Advance care planning
It can be a good idea for a person to plan for their future medical treatment and care, and to discuss their preferences and values with family, friends and the health care team. This process is called advance care planning and can involve preparing various legal documents.
See Advance care planning to learn more about substitute decision-makers, advance care directives and wills.
Podcast: How to Help Someone with Cancer
Dr Laura Kirsten, Principal Clinical Psychologist, Nepean Cancer Care Centre, NSW; Mary Bairstow, Senior Social Worker, Cancer Centre, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; Anne Booms, Nurse Practitioner – Supportive and Palliative Care, Icon Cancer Centre Midland, WA; Dr Erica Cameron-Taylor, Staff Specialist, Department of Palliative Care, Mercy Hospice, Calvary Mater Newcastle, NSW; Tracey Gardner, Senior Psychologist, Cancer Counselling Service, Cancer Council Queensland; Louise Good, Cancer Nurse Consultant, WA; Verity Jausnik, Senior Policy Officer, Carers Australia; David Larkin, Cancer Supportive Care Manager, Canberra Region Cancer Centre, Canberra Hospital and Health Service, ACT; Kate Martin, Consumer; John McMath, Consumer; Simone Noelker, Physiotherapist and Wellness Centre Coordinator, Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre, VIC; Tara Redemski, Senior Physiotherapist – Cancer Care, Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD; Dean Rowe, Consumer; Chris Sibthorpe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.