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.

Back to Looking after someone

Working with professionals

It’s important to have a good relationship with the health and social care professionals looking after your loved one.

Preparing your home

There are practical things you can do to get the house ready before the person you care for comes home.

Support for you

Caring for someone with cancer can be challenging and tiring. Help is available to support carers and enable them to look after their loved one.

Life after caring

It can take time to adjust to life after your caring responsibilities come to an end. There is support available to help you.

If you're a carer with cancer

Looking after someone while going through treatment yourself can be challenging. Support is available for carers.