Concern for the family and caregivers

Just as people with cancer should not spend all their time thinking about their illness, neither should family members and friends spend every spare minute thinking about or being with their loved one. Caregivers need relief and rest to stay emotionally and physically fit and be able to help the person with cancer.

If you’re the main caregiver, plan time for yourself. Ask friends or other family members for help. Tell them exactly what they can do to help. Many times they are just waiting to be asked. For more on this, please call us or go to What a Caregiver Does.

If you’re not the main caregiver of the person with cancer, it helps to think about that person, too. Caregivers often focus most of their energy and time on the person with cancer and may not have time to take care of themselves. You may be able to offer help so that they can have a much-needed break. Just a couple of hours may be a big deal for someone whose loved one is very ill. Even if you’re not able to do this, the caregiver might be glad to have someone ask how they're doing. Ask about the caregiver’s feelings, too. It can be very lonely and stressful to be the main support person for someone with cancer. With everyone concerned about the person with cancer, it’s easy for the caregiver to be overlooked.

    The caregiver is often overlooked. Ask how they’re doing. Caregivers need support and encouragement, too.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Revised: October 1, 2016

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