Local & National Resources FAQs
At the Bassett Cancer Institute, we recognize that a cancer diagnosis not only affects a patient, but their family and friends too. Our mission is to provide care and support to all those affected by a cancer diagnosis. Our dedicated support staff team includes social workers, nutritionists, financial counselors, and nurse navigators. This team can provide resources to caregivers in a variety of areas, including mental health and well-being, community resources, support groups, financial concerns, and detailed information about cancer treatment.
Giving care and support to a cancer patient can be rewarding but also challenging. We're committed to providing you the support and assistance you need as you navigate a cancer diagnosis with your loved one.
Responsibilities as a Cancer Caregiver
Every situation surrounding cancer is different, as are potential roles as a caregiver for someone with cancer. Some of your responsibilities may include:
- Providing emotional support and company
- Transportation to and from appointments
- Arranging social visits with friends and family
- Cooking and cleaning
- Planning or helping to plan their medical, legal, and financial affairs
- Offering encouragement for exercise – both physical and mental
- Ensuring their home is safe for them
- Examining their driving ability and intervening when no longer safe
Learn more about being an caregiver for someone with cancer from the American Cancer Society, including how to care for and support your children at this time, how to talk to someone who has been diagnosed with cancer, and how to communicate clearly.
Tips for Cancer Caregivers
The below links may be able to help you as you and your loved one navigate new challenges:
People affected by cancer, as well as their caregivers, often have questions about how nutritional needs might change before, during, and after receiving treatment. The below resources offer valuable information, including recipes and how to manage possible side effects that treatment can have on nutrition:
The Oley Foundation is also a great resource for people who require nutrition support. Visit their website for dietary resources, handouts, educational materials, and more.
Whether your role as a caregiver involves daily care, medical care, involvement in decision making, or support, there are many national resources available that can help you in your caregiving journey:
Find local resources and organizations that offer support for cancer caregivers:
Frequently Asked Questions
We know that many of your questions will be about your loved one's specific cancer and their treatment plan, so we encourage you to use the resources listed on this page to help you ask your loved one's cancer care team these questions directly.
The American Cancer Society has many resources that you might find helpful during this process, including lists of questions to ask your loved one's doctor, information to understand the diagnosis, and a guide for patients and families after receiving a cancer diagnosis.
The resources included in American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)'s Trusted Information About Caring For Someone With Cancer document will also help you ask these questions and collect the information you may be looking for, including fillable sections to organize your loved one's health care team (page 3), symptom tracking (page 11), medication list (page 12), and other information.
We hope the below list will help answer some of your more general questions about being a caregiver for a loved one with cancer.
Each cancer diagnosis is unique, as is the patient's medical history and personal preferences regarding treatment. Your loved one's cancer care team considers all options and specifics when developing a treatment plan. This includes the type and stage of the cancer, if it has spread to nearby areas, what research is available, current clinical trials, risks and benefits of each treatment option, and the goal of treatment.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) offers treatment guidelines for patients, as well as patient and caregiver resources. Visit their website for more information.
You can't prepare for a cancer diagnosis – especially if your child is the one who is diagnosed. You may feel lost, confused, angry, sad, anxious, in shock, or any other emotion.
The American Cancer Society offers many useful resources for parents whose child has been diagnosed with cancer, including parental tips on coping with the diagnosis, how to help your other children cope based on their age, how to help your child adjust to their diagnosis, nutritional information, and much more.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 is a United States labor law that was designed to protect employee jobs with unpaid leave for qualifying family and medical reasons.
Visit the American Cancer Society's webpage for more information about FMLA, including qualifications, fact sheets, and how FMLA may be used.
Remission is the period of time when the disease is responding to treatment or is currently under control. This can either be partial or complete, meaning that the disease is being reduced (or for cancer, it's shrinking), or that all signs and symptoms of the disease are gone and the disease can no longer be detected through testing.
Someone with cancer may still receive treatment while they are in remission, since the cancer cells may still be present. This is known as maintenance therapy, and is designed to keep the cancerous cells from spreading.
Learn more about cancer remission from healthline.com.
You will need to accept the new situation in order to be an effective caregiver. In many instances, this involves allowing yourself to grieve and comprehend the new changes to your loved one's life, as well as your own.
Caregiver stress is extremely common, and there are many resources and strategies available to caregivers to help them learn how to deal with the physical and emotional demands involved with caregiving.
Learn more about self-care as a caregiver, stress management, and the different types of grief and loss:
Even if it's just for moral support or the occasional visit, help from other loved ones can be invaluable. That help can come in many forms, no matter how near or far your siblings or other family members are from you and the person you are providing care for.
Learn how you could get more help from other family members from the Family Caregiver Alliance:
Long-distance caregivers generally live an hour or more away from their loved one. This can make the coordination of care difficult, but there are steps that you can take to assist a loved one who lives far away from you.
Learn how you can help as a long-distance caregiver from the below resources:
Being a caregiver is difficult, especially if you are taking care of a loved one.
The Family Caregiver Alliance, part of the National Center on Caregiving, has compiled a list of tools you can use as a caregiver to identify any personal barriers and move forward with self-care while you care for your loved one. They have also created a list of simple steps and strategies to keep in mind to ensure you care for yourself.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has also created a page to help caregivers care for themselves. Learn about their tips for taking care of yourself, including understanding how stress affects you, protecting your physical health, recharging when needed, and practicing good mental habits.
It is very common to feel overwhelmed and exhausted at certain points in your caregiving journey – especially if you are also working full or part time and have other family obligations.
Respite care is an option that gives caregivers a break from their caregiving responsibilities. Learn more about respite care from HelpGuide.