Being a carer

What is a carer?

A carer is someone who provides unpaid support to a family member or friend who could not manage without this help. They don’t always live with the person they care for, and may have a job or children to look after as well.

Not everyone identifies with the term carer. You may think of yourself as a partner, family member or friend who is just doing their bit to help. But recognising that you are a carer can be a first step in getting the support you might need.

Caring can mean many things, including:

  • providing transport
  • helping with everyday chores
  • being a good listener
  • helping with personal care.

The person who spends the most time looking after someone with cancer is usually referred to as their main carer. But some people have more than one carer.

Lots of young people are carers too. If you’re aged 12–18 and looking after someone with cancer, you may want to read our information for young carers. It’s written by young carers, for young carers.