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Taking on the role of carer can be unsettling, especially as it can happen at any time and may not have been planned. However, caring can also be a positive and rewarding experience.
As a carer, it’s important to find a balance between what you think you can or should offer by way of support.
Each person with cancer is an individual with their own wishes and needs, and it’s important to respect their preferences. However, they may understate their need for help – so as not to be a burden to you, or simply because they don’t realise the demands that the illness and treatment may create. Their need for support may change over time.
At a time of uncertainty, your relative or friend may need to feel in control of their life, so wherever possible they should be involved in making decisions about their care.
Talking about what support you can provide will help you identify what’s needed. This may include being someone to listen, someone to share thoughts and feelings with, or someone to provide practical help such as driving, shopping or housework.
It may be that you don’t feel able to provide the type of support they need. But you can help to find that care from a variety of organisations|.
It’s also important to look after your own health and well-being|, and to recognise what you can and can’t do yourself.
|Many healthcare professionals will only give you the information you ask for, so you may find it helpful to make a list of questions before talking to them. And don’t be afraid to ask something more than once if there’s anything you don’t understand.
You can read other carers' tips in our booklet Hello, and how are you? [PDF, 914 kb]| - a guide written by carers, for carers.
Content last reviewed: 1 May 2011
Next planned review: 2013
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
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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