top of page
  • Writer's pictureRajat Chauhan

5 Tips for Being a Successful Cancer Caregiver

Finding out that a loved one has cancer can evoke all sorts of emotions - fear, anger, and sadness. This condition affects not only the patient but also their loved ones. Depending on the stage of the disease and the care needed, caregivers may have to dedicate up to eight hours every day. 

Besides the patient’s physical and psychological well-being, the caregiver’s response to their journey can be just as important. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), there were 20 million cases of cancer worldwide, along with at least 10 million deaths. 

Every year, the case burden is increasing. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that 35 million new cancer cases are expected to be reported by 2050. As the numbers rise, patients of all ages will require caregiver support - physically and emotionally. 

This article is for all the brave cancer caregivers out there. We understand how overwhelming and challenging the process can be at times. Shared below are five useful tips to support your loved one in their cancer recovery journey. 

Have Supplies Handy to Manage Side Effects 

The most fundamental and indispensable role of a cancer caregiver is to provide medical care at home by having supplies handy. Every cancer patient’s treatment and its side effects are unique. Plus, everyone responds differently to medications. 

During the first appointment itself, the healthcare team will inform you of the specific treatments and the side effects to expect. Some of the common side effects include nausea, appetite loss, pain, hair loss, and digestive issues. 

You can collect all the supplies and medicines needed to manage these side effects should they arise without notice. 

Educate Yourself as Much as Possible 

There is much truth in the statement - Knowledge is power. At the time of diagnosis, it is natural to not know about all the ups and downs involved in the treatment. The more knowledge you gain, the more you will feel empowered to take good care of your loved one. 

Let’s understand this part with the help of an example - Port-A catheters are often used during cancer treatment to transfer chemotherapy drugs and intravenous fluids. When inserted properly, the catheter can stay in the vein for a long time and eliminate the need for repeated needles. 

However, certain complications are involved with these medical devices, as is the case with the Bard PowerPort. As per TorHoerman Law, it has been linked with issues like catheter fracture, migration, and other injuries. If you educate yourself in depth about this, it’s possible to catch the symptoms on time. You can even file a compensation claim if you sustain injuries due to the device. 

Some common Port-a-Catheter migration symptoms include localized swelling, discomfort and pain, palpable port movement, and changes in catheter function. Some patients even report feeling strange sensations in their neck or chest region. When identified early, the healthcare team can prevent further complications from occurring. 

This is just one example. You must research and discuss with the care team about the specific cancer, its complications, prognosis, treatment duration, and more. 

Recognize the Value of Companionship 

Caregiving can indeed feel like a lonely road sometimes. This is why companions, in the form of family and friends, can extend support simply with their presence. For instance, take someone else with you for all the appointments and therapy sessions. 

In case of distress, openly ask for help. Be sure to let the person know exactly what you’re going through. If they offer a helping hand, let them know exactly what their role will be. You do not have to tread this path alone at any time. 

Recharge Yourself and Be Mindful of Your Health 

Caregiving is a full-time task and there will be days when you feel utterly spent and overwhelmed. Prepare yourself to replenish energy by taking mini breaks whenever possible. You can participate in simple activities like resting on a reclining chair, taking a brief walk, or hearing soothing music. 

The time you spend taking care of yourself will prevent burnout and depression. Also, schedule routine checkups for any physical ailments of your own. Eat well, get enough sleep, and do mild exercise every day to stay in top shape. 

Find Your Support System  

The entire experience will often be an emotional one. It can seem difficult to open up about your feelings to your loved one since both are going through a lot. Many caregivers find comfort and respite from their stress and uncertainty by connecting with others who have similar experiences. 

There are several cancer communities across US cities for you to meet other caregivers. Exclusive support groups and educational workshops are also set up for this purpose. Moreover, you can join virtual discussion boards to exchange insights, share coping strategies, and gain inspiration. 

Finally, remember that your loved one’s care team is not just there for them but also for you. In a recent survey, 73% of cancer patients reported that their diagnosis and treatment impacted their productivity and 83% of caregivers (out of 535) agreed. 

Cancer is a condition that can easily take a toll on one’s daily life. However, with the right resources and support, you and your loved one should be able to sail safely to the other side. 

18 views0 comments


Mit 0 von 5 Sternen bewertet.
Noch keine Ratings

Rating hinzufügen
bottom of page