Friends & Family

Support for Family, Friends and Caregivers

mother, father and son smiling softly outside

Cancer doesn’t affect only the person with the illness. It affects their family members and friends as well. The Cancer Support Community is here not only to meet the needs of cancer patients and survivors, but also to help the family members and friends who are facing cancer alongside a loved one.

Some family members and friends are direct caregivers. Others might play a more supporting role, helping with meals or children’s carpools. Still others might be providing support from a distance. Regardless of the role you are playing, rest assured that it is having an important impact on your friend or family member facing cancer.

Mary Ann, a former lung cancer caregiver and breast cancer survivor, talks about how important is was to ask for help from friends and family.

Former caregiver of friend with multiple myeloma, discovers that caregiving taught her to be a better and happier person.

Darlene, living with breast cancer, discusses how important a support network is from diagnosis to treatment. Letting your friends and family support you during this journey not only helps you, but allows them to feel good about helping and supporting you.

What to Expect: The Cancer Journey

As a family member or friend, you will be accompanying your loved one through their cancer journey. You may join the journey at the start. Or you may be jumping in midstream. These are some aspects of cancer you may encounter.

The Cancer Diagnosis: Your family member and friend will be gathering information and making treatment decisions.

Treatment: Many people affected by cancer consider treatment done after the last scheduled chemotherapy or radiation appointment. However, sometimes people must then continue some form of ongoing treatment, such as hormonal therapy.

Moving Beyond Treatment: Life is different after cancer. Your friend or family member will need to find a “new normal.”

Cancer Recurrence: Recurrence is a distressing event. This is a time when your friend or family member will need support, but it also is a time when communication can be difficult.

Advanced Disease: Cancer patients with metastatic disease must manage symptoms, tackle hard conversations and may struggle with their emotions. Family and friend can help by knowing what they are experiencing.

Caregiving: Caregivers face unique experiences.

A mother of two young children living with cancer describes the impact that her cancer diagnosis had on her children and how emotional support from others helped them cope and provided essential support for their entire family.

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