Making sure you have support
Supporting a person with cancer can be very rewarding and can bring you closer together, but it can also be demanding and sometimes upsetting. It’s important to make sure that you also have the support you need.
There are a few simple ways you can support yourself:
Set a limit on the amount of time you spend with the person with cancer.
Have a rest if you’re tired. This may seem obvious but many people push on despite their tiredness, only to feel exhausted later. It’s important for you to get enough sleep too.
Give yourself time out to do what you want to do and what will energise you - this may include gardening, going for a walk, listening to music, reading, watching a favourite film or going to the theatre.
Many people find that they also benefit from the support of others. This is nothing to be ashamed of, and you shouldn’t feel you’ve failed if you need some support to deal with your own emotions.
Sometimes just talking to another family member or friend can be enough. You may find it helpful to talk with your relative or friend’s specialist nurse. They will be able to let you know if there are any local support organisations or counselling services that may be suitable for you. You can also contact our cancer support specialists or one of the support organisations.
We also have information about the emotional effects of cancer, which can help you understand more about some of the feelings and emotions that the person with cancer may have.
You may want to join an internet support group or chat room for people affected by cancer. In our online community you can chat to people in our chat rooms, blog your experiences, make friends and join support groups. You can share your own thoughts and feelings, and get support from others.
Supporting someone with cancer and knowing what to say and do may be unfamiliar to you. Every person is unique, and there is no one formula for success. We all do the best we can. Above all, it’s important to remember that it’s the care and compassion that you support your loved one or friend with that they will value most.