Caregiver Support

Help for Cancer Caregivers

Smiling cancer patient with family memberHelping to care for a person with cancer may involve issues ranging from understanding medication side effects and communicating with family to providing information to a patient's doctor to help determine if a treatment is working.

The American Cancer Society offers this advice for cancer caregivers, recognizing they may feel overworked and under-appreciated:

  • Always respect your feelings and those of the patient.
  • Use "I" statements, rather than "you" statements. For instance, say, "I need a break" instead of "You never help me!"
  • Focus on the present rather than bringing up past patterns or issues.
  • Offer comforting assertions, such as: "I want to be here for you to help you get through this. You're not alone."
The National Family Caregiver Support Program can offer help and support in areas like chore services, education, and counseling. The NAC and the HIP Health Plan of New York wrote a brochure, Care for the Family Caregiver: A Place to Start.