When you are looking after someone with cancer, you may meet different members of their healthcare team.
When they are first diagnosed or having treatment, you may meet:
- a surgeon – a doctor who carries out operations to treat cancer
- an oncologist – a doctor who specialises in giving treatments for cancer, such as chemo-therapy or radiotherapy
- specialist nurses – who give information and support.
At the hospital or at clinic appointments, you may also meet:
- nurses – who work in wards and clinics
- a physiotherapist – who gives advice on exercise and mobility
- an occupational therapist (OT) – who helps people who have difficulty doing every-day tasks, such as washing and dressing
- social workers – who assess what practical and social help you and the person with cancer needs.
The person you are caring for may have a key worker. This is someone who is responsible for assessing the type of help the person with cancer can get. They can also help to arrange and co-ordinate different services. The key worker may be a social worker or specialist nurse. The doctor or nurse can tell you who the key worker is.
Some people may need more practical care and support when they are at home. The person you are caring for may need help with everyday tasks, such as washing and getting dressed. If you are their main carer, you may be worried that you won’t be able to manage.
The GP is responsible for the healthcare of the person you are caring for at home. There are also community health and social care professionals who can support you. The type and amount of support you get will depend on where you live and how the services are organised in your area.
It is helpful to record the names and contact details of the professionals you meet, in case you need to contact them.