Nearly Half of Cancer Caregivers Experience Substantial Anxiety and Feel Unprepared

August 4, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC (Aug 04, 2017)— The Cancer Support Community (CSC), an international nonprofit, today announced the results of its study from the Cancer Experience Registry of cancer caregivers at the 2017 American Psychological Association Annual Convention.

Findings show that among other things, cancer caregivers experienced substantial anxiety (48 percent of respondents) and elevated fatigue (37 percent). Additionally, the top needs expressed by caregivers include:

  • 72 percent wanted better understanding of the patient’s medical condition, treatment, and prognosis
  • 62 percent wanted to learn how to manage personal stress
  • 62 percent lacked information about available financial resources
  • 54 percent desired guidance on how to navigate the health care system

Also of note, caregivers experiencing more unmet needs were people who reported less knowledge about the patient’s cancer. They felt less prepared to provide and coordinate care, and they experienced greater burden.

“The emotional and physical health of cancer caregivers are seldom monitored, so caregivers tend to fall through the cracks,” said Alexandra Zaleta, Ph.D., Senior Director of Research at CSC. “Early recognition of distress and appropriate intervention are imperative for the well-being of the caregiver and long-term care of patients.”

“My mother’s diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer was an overwhelming and confusing experience,” said Anabella Aspiras, RN, MPA, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives at CSC, and a former caregiver. “I was fortunate enough to benefit from the free services and programming for caregivers provided by my local CSC affiliate, which gave me hope and helped me to stay positive.”

149 caregivers took part in this study. They are a part of CSC’s Cancer Experience Registry that includes over 12,000 patients and caregivers of 45 cancer types.

See full poster presented at the 2017 American Psychological Association Annual Convention.