Cancer caregivers need support, too

Friday, October 5, 2012


Special to the Journal

For every person who hears the words “you have cancer,” there is someone they love searching for the right thing to say, the right thing to do, and the right way to react. We refer to these loved ones as “caregivers.”

Caregivers are the ones who provide rides to cancer treatments, provide daily emotional support and who sometimes are asked to take on new roles such as housekeepers and cooking, while continuing to work and provide financial support for their family.

A caregiver feels the frustration of watching their loved one go through surgery, chemo, radiation and suffer side effects without being able to “fix it.” While it is true that members of the cancer treatment team – from doctors and nurses to social workers – tend to focus on the needs of the patient, it is also true that caregivers need support, and resources for caregivers do exist.

If someone you love is experiencing cancer, remember that it is your right to seek care and comfort for yourself. Call your local cancer center and ask to speak to the social worker or call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 for a list of resources in your area.

Christine Howard, MSW, LICSW, is the oncology coordinator for Elliot Regional Cancer Center.

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