News

When cancer strikes, caregivers need help, too

Friday, October 5, 2012

By CHRISTINE HOWARD

Elliot Regional Cancer Center

For every person who hears the words “you have cancer,” there is someone they love searcing 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 emptional support and who sometimes are asked to take on new roles such as housekeepers and cooks, while continuing to work and provide financial support and benefits 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 nurse 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 comfor 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. You loved one with cancer needs you to care for yourself, so that you can continue to care for them through their cancer journey.

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

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