Research shows that the stress of cancer caregivers takes a serious toll on their emotional and physical health. Emotional effects tend to show up first. You may feel worried, anxious or irritable. For example, you will be more likely to snap or overreact to things that might not normally bother you.
It’s important to seek support. One thing you can do to decrease stress is to educate yourself. Learning as much as you can about the cancer diagnosis, how it’s treated and what resources are available to you can reduce uncertainty and stress.
Some excellent online educational resources include:
National Cancer Institute: www.cancer.gov
American Cancer Society: www.cancer.org
Cancer Care: www.cancercare.org
Patient Resource Cancer Guide: www.patientresource.net
RT Answers: www.rtanswers.org/survivorship
Patient Advocate Foundation: www.patientadvocate.org
Comprehensive Cancer Control South Dakota: www.cancersd.com
Obtain Help with Medical Tasks
Many caregivers report feeling unprepared to provide the medical care their loved one needs at home. If there is any responsibility you are uncertain about, discuss it with your loved one’s health care team. Make sure you understand the instructions, and write them down so you don’t forget what you need to do. Find out who you can call with any questions that come up.
Get One-on-One Support
Online research can be beneficial, but the amount of information you find can be overwhelming. Consider speaking directly with a nurse, doctor or pharmacist about your concerns. One-on-one conversation can help keep things simple, provide reassurance and give you information tailored to your needs. Many centers offer support groups. Avera Queen of Peace Hospital hosts a monthly cancer support group and caregivers support group call. For information on those two groups call (605) 995-2205. To find out what support for caregivers is available throughout Avera visit www.Avera.org and check calendar of events for your area.