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A carer is someone who provides unpaid support to a family member or friend with cancer who would not be able to manage without this help. Caring can mean many things, including being a good listener, helping with personal care, providing transport or assisting with everyday chores.
There are a variety of practical issues you may find yourself having to deal with as a carer.
Day-to-day activities, such as housework, handling finances and personal care, are all important parts of caring for someone with cancer - and may be things you’ve not had to tackle before.
You may find some of the information from our section about caring for someone with advanced cancer section useful:
We also have information about benefits and financial help for carers|.
Caring means different things for every carer. What it involves will vary according to the needs of the person you’re caring for and what you’re able to do.
Caring can mean:
Are you getting support too?
Over half of carers don't identify themselves as a carer. If you provide support to someone with cancer you could be entitled to more support than you're getting.
It’s important to understand the needs of the person, and to find a good balance between what you think is right for them and what they want. You should also try to be aware of the limitations of what you can and can’t do.
We have more information about legal rights| and making decisions| if you are caring for someone with cancer.
Ciarán tells his story of caring for his wife when she had advanced cancer.
Katherine explains the financial help that might be available for people with cancer.
Content last reviewed: 1 December 2011
Next planned review: 2013
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
Almost a million people in England care for a friend or family member with cancer. But they're not getting the support they need. Help us change that.
You may feel overwhelmed by the circumstances and inadequate for the task, but you will gain knowledge and skills with the passing of time and amaze yourself in your achievements. Sue, former carer
You may feel overwhelmed by the circumstances and inadequate for the task, but you will gain knowledge and skills with the passing of time and amaze yourself in your achievements.
Sue, former carer
You may say 'I'm just being their husband, partner, daughter or friend...' Yet the support you provide is vital: from helping with shopping, dressing or being there when they need to talk.
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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