Caregivers, family and friends

Being a caregiver

If you know someone with head and neck cancer you may be wondering what you can do to support them.

There are many things you can do to help. They may need ongoing personal and medical care for a long time or just some help with shopping or taking kids to school while they are having treatment.

If you’re a relative or friend of someone with cancer, this section offers some useful tips to help you support them and to look after yourself.

Some of the information in this section is for the main (primary) caregiver of someone with cancer. A caregiver is anyone who provides unpaid personal care and support to a person who needs help because of a disability or illness, like cancer.

Becoming a caregiver can be sudden or it can happen gradually over time. Caregivers can be connected to a person with cancer in many ways, such as family, marriage, friendship, or other types of relationships. In this section we will talk about the family member, relative or friend you are caring for as the ‘person’ or ‘someone with cancer’.

When supporting someone with cancer, you can be as involved as you are prepared to be. It may be a weekly cup of coffee, a chat and just listening or it could involve a whole lot more.

For many people, being a caregiver is a full-time responsibility, usually on top of work, looking after children or other roles. There are about 2.7 million caregivers in Australia. To learn more about what it means to be a caregiver, visit Carers Australia