Agency on Aging

Are you caring for someone with cancer?

Caregivers have key roles in caring for their loved ones. Good, reliable support from a caregiver is crucial to the physical and emotional well-being of people with cancer.


Today, most cancer treatments are given in outpatient treatment centers – not in hospitals. Since experiences with treatment and side effects can vary, someone needs to be part of the day-to-day care. As a result, caregivers perform many tasks usually associated with healthcare professionals. These roles change as the patients’ needs change and expand during and after cancer treatment.


It’s hard to plan for a major health problem like cancer. Suddenly you’ve been asked to care for a person with cancer, and you’re also needed to help make decisions about medical care and treatment. You may not have expertise in any of the things you’re asked to do. None of this is easy. There will be times when you know you’ve done well, and times when you just want to give up. This is normal.


There are many causes of stress and distress in the lives of cancer caregivers. Dealing with the crisis of cancer in someone you love, the uncertain future, financial worries, difficult decisions, and unexpected and unwanted lifestyle changes are just a few of them. You need people around you who can provide accurate information and help you make decisions when needed.


Talk with a nurse or social worker at your treatment center or talk with other cancer caregivers. Contact the Agency on Aging and ask to speak with a Caregiver care manager, who can provide you with information about caregiver support services, caregiver training, and caregiver support groups, both in-person or virtual provided by the Agency on Aging. They can also help you locate information about support groups provided by cancer care organizations. Talking with other caregivers can help you feel less alone.