Many carers say they find it time-consuming and tiring to keep family and friends up to date on the condition of the person with cancer. Some carers find it stressful dealing with other people’s reactions to the updates. It’s also important to ask the person you are caring for how much information they would like you to share.
There are a number of ways to let people know what is happening without having to repeat yourself over and over again:
- Leave a message on your answering machine. You could say something like: “Bill is doing okay with the chemo. He’s mainly feeling tired. Thanks for your concern.” This will cut down on the time needed to answer or return calls.
- Send out updates via group text messages or emails. You may want to include a statement such as: “We don’t have time to reply to everyone individually, but we are reading your messages and appreciate your support.”
- Start an online diary, blog, or Facebook or other social media group to share news and coordinate offers of help. For example, you can set up a free, protected website at CaringBridge.
- Ask a family member or friend to update others.
Explain to family and friends how you’ll keep them up to date. It’s okay to let them know that it is stressful and time-consuming responding to a range of inquiries.
If you need to explain the situation to children, read the Talking to Kids About Cancer booklet. Call Cancer Council 13 11 20 for a free copy, download one from this page, or see Talking to Kids About Cancer.
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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Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.
What is cancer?
How cancer starts and spreads
Emotions and cancer
Here are some suggestions for managing the physical effects of the diagnosis, coping with the diagnosis, as well as how to get support.
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