Support Persons Resources – Cancer Mind Care

Common carer responsibilities

Caring for someone you love with cancer can be create greater intimacy and closeness. However, it can also be challenging. Taking on a caring role can change your relationship and affects the established roles you have with the person with cancer. Many support people take on additional responsibilities. Some of these responsibilities can be medical, practical, emotional and social.

Medical

  • Advocacy
  • Symptoms Monitoring
  • Records keeping
  • Knowledge and information storage
  • Navigation of the healthcare system
Practical

  • Home duties
  • Attending to other family members & pets
  • Transportation, shopping, assistance with personal care
  • Financial
  • Employment
Emotional

  • Support
  • Reassurance
  • Cheerleading
Social

  • Keeping friends/family informed
  • Helping meet social needs of loved ones
  • Engagement and entertainment

Common carer relationships

Jill's story

This video produced by Rural Cancer Stories shows Jill talking about being a support person and advocate for her partner.

Aidan's story

You can also view a video produced by Moments that Matter, featuring Aidan sharing his experience of caring for his wife.

Watch Video

Changes in sexuality and intimacy

You might feel your relationship with the person you are supporting has changed. If the person is your partner, cancer may have affected your sexual relationship and you might miss physical intimacy. Here is information from the Cancer Council on how to manage changes in sexuality and intimacy.

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Common emotions and feelings

Although everyone is different, you may experience these common feelings at different points in time.

I feel angry and frustrated
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I feel loss
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I feel guilty
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I feel lonely
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I feel invisible
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Further reading

If any of these feelings resonate for you as a support person, you can read more and ways to manage from Cancer Council Victoria.

The responsibility of looking after someone with cancer may mean that you ignore your own needs. It is so important to take care of yourself. Here are some tips for coping from the Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre.

Here you will find some self-care strategies from the Cancer Council.

Helpful tips and guides

  • Caring for Someone with Cancer - Cancer Council

    This guide from the Cancer Council offers practical tips, as well as balancing the demands of caring, supporting, family, work and your own needs.

  • Caring for a cancer survivor: tips for coping - The Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre

    The Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre also shares tips for coping.

Resources

General Resources
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Children of parents with cancer
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Younger carers
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This content contains information that has been approved by reference groups comprising relevant health professionals, consumers and non-government organisations.

Content is sourced from published research literature, grey literature sources (e.g. clinical guidelines) and opinions of clinical experts. It is not intended to reflect all of the available evidence and is not intended to be exhaustive.

The authors acknowledge that it is possible that other relevant guidelines or scientific findings may have been published since the development of the website.

Acknowledgments

Screening tool references

Kessler-10

Kessler, R.C., Barker, P.R., Colpe, L.J., Epstein, J.F., Gfroerer, J.C., Hiripi, E., Howes, M.J, Normand, S-L.T., Manderscheid, R.W., Walters, E.E., Zaslavsky, A.M. (2003). Screening for serious mental illness in the general population Archives of General Psychiatry. 60(2), 184-189.

Distress thermometer

Adapted from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Distress Thermometer. Available from: https://www.nccn.org/docs/default-source/patient-resources/nccn_distress_thermometer.pdf?sfvrsn=ef1df1a2_4

Contact

For questions or comments related to this website, please email CancerMindCare@petermac.org. To contact the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Psychology Department please call 03 8559 5220.