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Every patient is surrounded by caregivers that stand with them in their cancer fight. Helping a friend or loved one navigate their cancer treatment is a vital role that can take many forms. You’re an essential part of the treatment team.

Anyone can be a caregiver – a spouse, a child, a close personal friend. Stepping into the role of a caregiver can be an overwhelming task, but there are ways to help ease the transition.

  • Talk to your loved one about their medical care and how you can best help.
  • Understand and respect your loved one’s wishes.
  • Educate yourself about the patient’s condition using credible resources.
  • Communicate with the patient, doctor, and other family members.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Involve others and delegate caregiving responsibilities.
  • Stay organized.
  • Be open to new treatments, technologies, and clinical trials.

We've also created a fact sheet as well as a special newsletter edition that offer additional tips and advice.

Saying thank you and recognizing the efforts of caregivers is an important way others can provide support during cancer treatment.

Take time to show thanks to a caregiver with one of these ideas:

  1. Say “thank you.”
  2. Give a day off – guilt free.
  3. Do something together that you both enjoy.
  4. Drop off supplies for a favorite hobby (such as knitting yarn or a new book).
  5. Invite his/her children for a play date.
  6. Pick up extra groceries on your next shopping trip.
  7. Talk about something other than cancer.
  8. Put together a package for writing notes, including stamps, pens, and assorted note cards.
  9. Ask for a list and run errands.
  10. Organize and schedule other friends to provide dinner.
  11. Mow the lawn.
  12. Donate house cleaning services or offer your own services.
  13. Leave a basket of muffins or cookies by the front door.
  14. Provide a favorite movie for the caregiver and patient to enjoy together.
  15. Stay in touch and be a good listener.