Tag Archives: Cancer Caregiver Tips

Three Things to Know About Your Spouse’s Journey with Cancer

Getting Through Cancer
Getting Through Cancer

Cancer has been called a family disease because a cancer diagnosis affects not just the patient, but the entire family. If your spouse has been diagnosed with cancer, his or her journey with cancer will also have a profound effect on your own life and the lives of your children. As your spouse’s leading supporter and primary caregiver, your cancer journey will be different from your spouse’s but is likely to be equally challenging.

What You Should Know

Here are three things you should know as you and your spouse cope with cancer:

1. Keep communicating. Share with each other your feelings and fears about cancer. The more openly you and your spouse can discuss the challenges that occur during the cancer journey, the better you can support each other.

2. Respect your spouse’s decisions. Be an information gatherer and sounding board for your spouse, but respect his or her right to make treatment decisions. You can help your spouse by researching alternative cancer treatments, cancer vaccines and other treatment options and sharing that information with your spouse. Share your thoughts and discuss your fears, but respect your spouse’s right to determine the path of his/her cancer journey.

3. There is more to life than cancer. Life does not stop just because your spouse is diagnosed with cancer. When possible, continue your normal family routine. Make time to talk and cuddle as a couple. Continue to parent as a team. Ask friends and family for help when you need it, and join a cancer support community.

Visit our website to find out how Issels integrative immunotherapy has successfully impacted the cancer journey of many patients.

Cancer Caregivers Must Take Care for Themselves Too

Being a Caregiver is an Important Role.
Being a Caregiver is an Important Role.

Two out of three Americans can expect to serve as a family caregiver at some point in their lifetime. With cancer predicted to outstrip heart disease as the leading cause of death in America, many family caregivers will be caring for cancer patients. But those cold, impersonal facts are far removed from the intensely personal and emotional experience of caring for a family member with cancer.

Highs and Lows of Being a Caregiver

Serving as a cancer caregiver for someone you love can be a tremendously rewarding experience. But trying to juggle your own life with your responsibilities as a caregiver can also take a huge toll on your physical and mental health. Many family caregivers place the needs of their loved one ahead of their own needs which is completely human and sometimes necessary. But failing to take care of yourself can leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed which helps neither you nor the family member you are caring for.

Caring for the Caregiver

To be an effective caregiver for a family member with cancer, you must take care of yourself.

Use the following strategies to stay emotionally and physically healthy: 

• Caregiving can be an isolating experience. Establish a good support network and enlist family and friends to help out. Accept help when it’s offered and call on your support team when you need a break.

• Know the warning signs of stress: exhaustion, irritability, trouble sleeping, forgetfulness, eating too much or too little and loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities. Chronic stress erodes your physical health and may lead to depression. Monitor your health and see your doctor regularly.

You know your loved one is receiving the best possible care at Issels alternative cancer treatment centers. Family caregivers must take equally good care of themselves.

More Useful Advice for Cancer Caregivers

Family Caregiver
Family Caregiver

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, the typical family caregiver is between 35 and 64 years old, has a spouse or partner, works full or part-time, is caring for a family member or relative, lives near or with the person they care for and provides from 8 to 40 hours of care per week. Care giving can be a rewarding experience but it can also be isolating and draining.

To maintain the emotional and physical energy needed to care for a loved one, family cancer caregivers need to take care of themselves. The body-mind-spirit emphasis that is the hallmark of Issels’ integrative approach to alternative cancer treatment can benefit cancer caregivers as much as the cancer patients they care for. As noted in our previous post, working with a compassionate cancer treatment team, asking for and accepting help from family and friends, taking regular breaks from care giving to nurture your own spirit and seeking support from caregiver support groups can help family cancer caregivers cope with the challenge of care giving.

Today, we offer additional advice on how to address some of the most common issues faced by family cancer caregivers:

  • Respecting patient rights. Particularly when they are caring for a family member, caregivers become understandably invested in treatment decisions. Offer your personal insights when asked but remember that each cancer patient has the right to choose his own path.This can be particularly difficult for adult children caring for parents with cancer. As people age, perspective changes. Older cancer patients may prefer alternative cancer treatments over standard medical care. Or they may choose not to prolong their lives past a certain point.Be open to alternative cancer therapies. The success of alternative cancer treatments in achieving long-term remission of many types of cancer often surprises people whose only experience is with traditional Western medicine. Encourage your loved ones to make informed decisions but respect their right to choose.

Helpful Advice for Cancer Caregivers

When a Caregiver Gets Cancer
When a Caregiver Gets Cancer

At some point in our lives, most of us will become caregivers for a family member, many of us for a spouse, parent or child stricken with cancer. Family caregivers must deal with myriad medical, financial and emotional issues. As the direct line of communication to other concerned family members, family caregivers must juggle not only the needs of the patient and their own concerns but those of other family members while still managing the daily life responsibilities they have to their own families.

Despite their dedication to family members struggling with cancer, family caregivers can find the weight of responsibility, the emotional toll and the logistical juggling required to accommodate competing demands on their time and energy challenging if not overwhelming. Working with a caring cancer team of compassionate professionals, asking other family members and friends of the patient to lend a hand, joining a caregiver support group and educating yourself about what to expect and possible treatment options, including advanced alternative cancer treatments, can help ease the burden of care giving.

Below we offer advice on how to address some of the key issues family cancer caregivers face:

  • Minimizing pain and discomfort. Your closeness to your family members may make you more aware of the level of discomfort or pain he is feeling. Many cancer patients are also more likely to confide how they are truly feeling to a family member than to medical personnel. Your perceptions and understanding of your family member’s facial expressions and behavior patterns can provide valuable information to his cancer treatment team. Don’t be shy about sharing your observations and opinions.

More useful caregiver tips next time