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Many people could face cancer alone without the support of friends and family. But looking after a loved one with cancer can be tough. Macmillan’s campaigns team tell us more.
Almost 1 million people in England help to look after a friend or family member with cancer but, too often, many miss out on the support they need.Today we’re launching a campaign to coincide with the government’s new Care Bill, calling for change to make sure that carers are:
identified as soon as possible
signposted to support they need.
We spoke to Sharon, who told us why she feels it’s so important that carers get support from day one.
While caring for her mum, Sharon found it really difficult to access support.Struggling to balance work and family duties, Sharon had to change her working hours to be with her mum, which had real impact on family finances.With little support or information, Sharon found herself trying to find out about her mum’s condition and where to go for help at a very difficult time.‘When we first found out that my mum was ill – I thought where do I start? I didn’t see myself as a carer so taking that on board and finding support was hard.’
Sharon accessed support from the Macmillan website and Macmillan team, which helped share some of the load. Sharon feels that information and support are vital for people like her, as they cope with taking on their caring roles.
‘It was a big shock but having access to the right information was another bit of armour.’How to help
There are thousands of cancer carers in England who, like Sharon, are reaching breaking point, exhausted from doing all they can for their loved one or friend. It is vital that the government acts to address this lack of support.
Join our carers campaign to " target="_blank">ask the government to tackle the caring crisis and fight for those who care.
You can also get involved with Carers Week" target="_blank">get involved with Carers Week 10 - 16 June.
If you are caring for someone with cancer we have information and support to help" target="_blank">information and support to help.
I've just signed the petition which is great, really important and thanks to Macmillan.
However, I wonder how many people out there are like me. I am the one with stage 4 thyroid cancer (neck recurrence and mets to hip and lungs) and I am caring for my Dad who has Vascular Dementia.
I'm 'lucky' because I am currently asymptomatic and my Dad is still in the relatively early stages, but it's still very draining at a time in my life when i could really do with a bit more space.
I signed it too and will be asking my friends too....caring for someone with any illness is never easy or simple...and I think when there are more complex issues people struggling to find assistance....I have severe depression, anxiety and mobility issues associated with diabetes complications....my husband is my carer....however he has now been diagnosed with Stage 3 bladder cancer and started his chemo yesterday.....he now has his needs.......but mine have not gone away.....where does that leave us as we both struggle to care for each other..... Sadly life is never simple so any support is precious.....
Thanks so much for getting in touch and sharing your experience. I am sorry to hear about your Dad and it must be tough to be balancing looking after him with everything else.
Feeling like this is totally normal and there are lots of other people out there going through the same thing. Macmillan has a support line that you can call on 0808 808 00 00 and we also provide lots of support those who are caring for someone with cancer with practical information and advice on the website here.
There are also local support groups where you can talk about your feelings if that would help and you can find those here on the website as well.
I do hope that some of this support will help you cope with balancing everything and am so glad that you got in touch.
Thanks so much for getting in touch as well and I am so sorry to hear that you and your husband are also struggling with all the difficult things that caring brings alongside tough health situations for you both. It is not surprising that you are feeling like this – it sounds like you have a lot to cope with.
As I mentioned in my post and links to Kazzy, you can access support via the Macmillan phoneline and local support centres and get help through the services shown on our site so I do hope some of this will help you in your situation.
If you have any questions about our organisation our Macmillan team would love to hear from you
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2010
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