How To Look After Someone With Cancer

Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 28 April 2021

Being A Caregiver

A cancer diagnosis does not affect only those that have been diagnosed with them. Family members, friends, and caregivers can be affected by this traumatic illness. During cancer treatment, family and friends may be required to assist with day-to-day tasks.

You may not consider yourself a “caregiver" even when you are caring for those with cancer. However, you have deemed a caregiver when you prepare food, shop, assist in dressing and bathing, and provide emotional assistance.

Caregiving is a demanding and difficult job. When you spend too much time doing things for your loved one, it's possible to get isolated and forget about your own needs.

The resources mentioned below provide caregivers with a range of helpful resources. You must remember to try to look after your own well-being while caring for others.

The Caregiver’s Role

When caring for someone with cancer, several responsibilities may fall to you, including:

  • Cooking and cleaning
  • Running errands
  • Assisting the person in bathing, dressing, and taking medicine
  • Managing insurance paperwork
  • Paying bills and checking mail
  • Driving to the doctor's office and other appointments

Here are several questions to consider asking when you take someone with cancer to the doctor so you know what’s expected of you:

  • Where can I learn more about cancer and its treatment?
  • What are the next steps in treatment?
  • What medications do they require?
  • What's the best way for me to administer their medications?
  • What are the possible side effects of the treatment?
  • For which side effects should I contact you?
  • How can I help my family member/friend with cancer feel better during treatment?
  • What can I do to help manage their pain?
  • Are there any local support groups or resources I should know about?

Help for the Caregiver

To avoid burnout when caring for others, follow these steps:

  • Take the time to relax. Make time for yourself every day. Get out of the house on a daily basis to avoid feeling lonely and disconnected.
  • When you need to, say “no" and ask for assistance. You won't be able to accomplish everything all of the time. If at all possible, hire or enlist the assistance of others. The resources mentioned below will assist you in finding the information you need.
  • Become a member of a caregiver support group. Meeting with others who are caring for someone with a soft tissue sarcoma or some other disease will help you feel less isolated. You can share thoughts with others, meet other caregivers, and learn tips to make caregiving duties easier at the support group. Group support is an effective platform for assisting you with better coping.

  • Just ensure you look after yourself. cancer patients aren't the only ones who could use a TLC right now. You can't be a good caregiver if you're not feeling well. Make sure your health and well-being are not put at risk.
Cancer Resources

Here are few resources to assist you in caring for anyone who has cancer. Inquire with your doctor regarding local support groups.

National Cancer Society Malaysia

MAKNA (Majlis Kanser Nasional) or National Cancer Council

Malaysian Caregiver Association

National Cancer Institute

National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)

National Family Caregivers Association


Referenced on  27/4/2021 

  1. National Cancer Institute: “Caring for the Caregiver."
  2. American Cancer Society: “What it Takes to Be a Caregiver."
  3. Counseling to better cope with caregiving. (n.d.).
  4. Family Caregiver Alliance. (2012). Taking care of you: Self-care for family caregivers.
  5. If you’re about to become a cancer caregiver. (2019).
  6. Knapp S, et al. (2014). Identity threat and stigma in cancer patients. DOI:
  7. Making lung cancer stigma a thing of the past. (2017).
  8. What a cancer caregiver does. (2016).

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