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Cancer organizations help families adjust to new roles as cancer caregivers

Becoming A Cancer Caregiver.png
Posted at 10:30 AM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 14:00:10-04

Editor's note: This article is the part of a monthly series of stories focused on cancer issues. Denver7 is proud to partner with the American Cancer Society, Cancer Support Community, Colorado Cancer Coalition and Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HealthONE to bring you these stories, tips and resources.

In 2021, over 29,000 Coloradans will be diagnosed with cancer—and we know they won’t go through that experience alone because there will be a caregiver, usually a family member or close friend, at their side. Becoming a caregiver is often unexpected and life changing. A caregiver is someone who provides physical and emotional support to the person who has cancer. They may also serve as a lifeline for the person they are taking care of.

The Cancer Support Community is a global nonprofit that provides $50 million in free support and navigation services for patients and their loved ones each year. CSC’s Denver-based digital platform, MyLifeLine, was specifically created for cancer patients and caregivers to virtually connect to family and friends for social and emotional support. MyLifeLine has private websites, helping calendars, and professionally moderated discussion boards with thousands of members. The Cancer Support Community also has a live helpline that can assist patients and caregivers, it’s available by calling 888-793-9355.

Caregivers can support their loved one by working to understand their cancer diagnosis and treatment by working with the patient’s cancer care team. It’s important for caregivers to take care of themselves so they can provide reliable support to their loved one during the cancer journey. Being a caregiver can be challenging, so caregivers should look for options to help reduce stress and relax, including exercising, eating healthy, getting support from family and friends and planning for fun activities. Caregivers can also seek professional help if they feel they need it.

The American Cancer Society and HealthOne have teamed up to provide cancer resource centers for patients, family members and friends. Available services include:

  • Access to updated information about tests, treatments and clinical trials
  • Help making transportation arrangements for treatment
  • Information about local community support resources
  • Support group and educational event information
  • Wigs and prostheses

The Cancer Survivors Network™ is a free online community created by and for people with cancer and their families. This online community is a welcoming, safe place for people to find hope and inspiration from others who have overcome cancer, offering discussion boards, chat rooms and a personal web space to tell your story, blog, post images and exchange messages with other members. To register, please visit the Cancer Survivors Network™ website.

The I Can Cope® online classes provide a quick and convenient way for patients and caregivers to get the answers they need. Classes are self-paced and topics include information about pain, fatigue, nutrition, communication, intimacy and side effects. To register, please visit the American Cancer Society's website.

The American Cancer Society has a Caregiver Support Video Series, which provides educational support for caregivers as they take care of their loved one through their cancer journey.

The Colorado Cancer Coalition has a listing of support groups that is updated regularly and a category for caregivers.