Getting started

Caregiving doesn’t come with a manual

It’s true. Being a caregiver for someone with cancer doesn’t come with a how-to book. Every cancer situation has its own unique challenges. But there are ways to prepare for the challenges ahead, including:

  • Learning how to help your loved one stay organized and manage daily SUTENT treatment
  • Learning how to communicate better with your loved one and the healthcare team
  • Understanding how important it is to take proper care of yourself
What is a caregiver?

What is a caregiver?

The role of being a caregiver is vital. A caregiver can be anyone—family, neighbor, or friend—who gives help to someone with cancer.

There are many ways to show caregiver support to a person with cancer, such as:

  • Shopping for necessities, like groceries
  • Doing household chores
  • Helping with paperwork, like bills and insurance
  • Giving medicine
  • Helping with getting dressed
  • Listening to concerns
  • Offering emotional support
  • Making meals 
Long-distance caregiving

Long-distance caregiving

As a caregiver, you may not live near your loved one with cancer. You may be several miles or even several hours away. But there are still many ways to show caregiver support. Here are some tips for caregiving from a distance:

  • Make the most of technology. Keep in touch by phone, e-mail, text, and instant messenger
  • Always give yourself some time for rest after each trip to visit your loved one. Caregiving is demanding and this will help you recharge before returning to your normal daily responsibilities
  • You may not be there in person, but there are plenty of things you can do remotely to help out, including:
    • Scheduling doctor visits
    • Handling insurance claims and calls
    • Keeping other family members up-to-date on your loved one’s condition
    • Ordering essentials by phone or online
    • When there is more than 1 caregiver involved, it's important to coordinate with the primary caregiver
Setting up healthy communication

Setting up healthy communication

Talking with a loved one and offering cancer support isn’t always easy. Some conversations may be tough or bring up a lot of feelings. When having a hard talk, be patient with yourself and your loved one. Here are some tips to help keep things open and honest:

  • Solving every problem with one conversation is unrealistic
    When making decisions about cancer support, keep your expectations reasonable. Many concerns and questions can come up along the way, and conversations may get complicated
  • Gestures can be more powerful than words
    Sometimes the best support you can offer is simply being a good listener. Plus, giving a hug and a shoulder to lean on can be more comforting than anything you say
  • Try saying, “I’m here for you,” instead of “It’ll be okay.”
    People with cancer don’t always want to hear that everything will be okay. Instead, try reminding your loved one that you’ll be there throughout this journey