When you realize there are some 15 million people living with cancer in the U.S., it’s clear that the caregiver is fundamental in the journey of a cancer patient. If you are a cancer patient caregiver and feel unprepared for it, we’re here to help you out with five handy tips so that you can feel confident that you’re doing everything you can to support your loved one.
1. Educate Yourself About the Specific Cancer Diagnosis
Being prepared as a caregiver means you have to have a lot of knowledge on your charge’s cancer diagnosis, treatment options and more. You can find a lot of good research online at reputable sites like National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society—and even this one! And don’t forget to ask your patient’s doctor about educational materials and resources you can use as a caregiver.
2. Take Control of the New Situation
A cancer patient cannot be as strong and ready to tackle the new normal if their caregiver is not encouraging and making them feel safe and in control. Take steps to control what you can and stay positive as you navigate this new landscape.
3. Stay Organized During Cancer Treatment
Find the organizational system that suits you to help keep track of test results, appointments, medications, the medical history of the cancer patient and more. Daily to-do lists can be very helpful to maintaining your loved one’s schedule and sense of being in control.
4. Be Patient With Your Loved One & Yourself
Patience is vital for caregivers because cancer patients can—understandably–be frustrating to work with. Have a plan for how you can help your loved one navigate the bad days but don’t forget that good days happen, too. Help your patient focus on them. And find ways for both of you to take a break from cancer every once in a while by focusing on something else.
5. Don’t Forget to Care for Yourself
Being a caregiver for a cancer patient is emotionally and physically draining. It’s crucial that you monitor your own health, make time for yourself, learn your limitations and ask for help if you need it.
More than a thousand men and women diagnosed with cancer each year turn to our trusted team of cancer specialists. We encourage you to call us at 850-610-3743, ask us a question, or consult with us to get a second opinion, so you too can experience the difference.