- Cancer Information
- Supporting someone with cancer
- Caring for someone with cancer
- Your role as a carer
- Communicating with others
Communicating with others
As the main carer, you’ll usually be the person family and friends contact for information. You may find it time-consuming and tiring keeping others up to date on the condition of the person with cancer. Some carers find it stressful dealing with other people’s reactions to the latest news. It’s also important to ask the person you are caring for how much information they would like you to share.
Ways to keep family and friends up to date
- Leave a message on your voicemail giving a quick update. 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 text messages or emails to groups of people. You may want to include a statement such as: “We are not able to reply to everyone individually, but we are reading your messages and appreciate your support.”
- Start an online diary, blog, private Facebook or other social media group to share news and coordinate offers of help. You can set up a protected online group at Gather My Crew.
- Let family and friends know how you’ll keep them up to date. You may want to ask a family member or friend to take responsibility for keeping others up to date and acting as the main point of contact. If not, let people know the best times and days to contact you.
- If you need to explain the situation to children, see Talking to kids about cancer and listen to the podcast below.
A lot of the difficulties of communicating with family and friends come about because of uncertainty and feeling uncomfortable.Rob
Podcast: Explaining Cancer to Kids
Dr Alison White, Palliative Medicine Specialist, Royal Perth Hospital, WA; Tracey Bilson, Consumer; Louise Dillon, Consumer; Louise Durham, Nurse Practitioner, Palliative Care Outpatients, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD; Katrina Elias, Carers Program, South Western Sydney Local Health District, NSW Health, NSW; Jessica Elliott, Social Worker, Youth Cancer Services, Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Brendan Myhill, Social Worker and Bereavement Research Officer, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, NSW; Penny Neller, Project Coordinator, National Palliative Care Projects, Australian Centre for Health Law Research, Queensland University of Technology, QLD; Olivia Palac, Acting Assistant Director, Occupational Therapy, Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD; Nicole Rampton, Advanced Occupational Therapist, Cancer Services, Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD; Shirley Roberts, Nurse Consultant, Medical Oncology, Northern Adelaide Cancer Centre, SA; Dr Elysia Thornton-Benko, Specialist General Practitioner, and UNSW Research Fellow, NSW; Kathleen Wilkins, Consumer; Helen Zahra, Carers Program, South Western Sydney Local Health District, NSW Health, NSW.
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