What is a carer?

Not everyone thinks of themselves as a carer. You may think you are just doing your bit to help. Recognising that you are a carer is important in getting the support you need. As well as working, you may have other family responsibilities.

For many people living with cancer, the practical and emotional support of family and friends is vital. As cancer treatments improve, more people are living with cancer for longer.

As a result, there are almost 1.5 million people in the UK caring for someone with cancer. Becoming a carer is often something you have not planned for. It may happen suddenly or over time.

Being a carer is physically and emotionally demanding, but it can also be a rewarding experience. As a carer it is very important you get the practical, emotional and financial support you need. If you carry on working, you may also need support in the workplace.

Getting a balance between being a carer and working can be challenging but not impossible. In any workplace around the UK, about 1 in 9 people are working while being a carer. Carrying on working can benefit a carer, their employer and the person they care for.

It is important to look after yourself. It helps in your caring role, in your relationship with the person you care for and in your work life.

I never thought of myself as a carer. I was just being a daughter, looking after my dad.

Victoria, who cared for her dad

Back to Looking after someone with cancer

Managing everyday needs

You may need to help the person you are caring for with things like medicines. You can get support to help you with this.

Other care options

You may sometimes need a break from caring. Help is available to support you with looking after your loved one.

If you're a carer with cancer

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