Are you looking after someone in your family who has cancer? Maybe it’s your mum, dad or grandparent? If you are under 18 and you spend time looking after someone who is ill, then you are a young carer, and our new young carers handbook is for you. It’s been written in collaboration with other young people like you who’ve cared for their parents or relatives, so it contains real experiences and honest advice.

What does being a young carer mean?

Being a young carer can affect your life in many ways. You might have to do extra things to help your family – things that your friends might not be doing. This might mean you spending time helping with tasks around the home such as washing up and making dinner.

We understand that this is a difficult time for you, looking after your loved one and dealing with your own feelings. You may be angry, shocked or frightened. You may be asking, ‘Why has this happened to the person I love?’ and ‘Why me?’

Get advice from other young carers

We know it’s hard being a young carer, looking after someone close to you who has cancer. You may feel alone. You may feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders with no one to care for or support you.

But you are not alone. There are other young carers out there, and they’ve helped to write this handbook. In the book, they share their experiences of cancer with you. They talk about the emotional side of cancer, offer practical help and advice, and tell you about people you can contact for extra help or support.

 Sometimes you don’t get time to think about what’s going on and you don’t realise that you’re trying to run past what’s happening. It was much later that I suddenly started crying and didn’t stop for a long time.

 Image of the front cover of the young carers booklet

The handbook is split into different chapters, so you can dip in and out when you need to. The booklet talks about:

  • being a young carer
  • the feelings and emotions you are experiencing
  • people you could talk to about how you are feeling
  • how to look after yourself and give yourself a bit of ‘me time’
  • how to cope with school or work whilst caring for a family member
  • practical advice about money and work
  • charities and organisations you can turn to for help and support.

Just remember, you are doing a great job caring for your loved one. We know you are taking a on a big responsibility, and you may feel anxious and worried about lots of things – the person you’re caring for, your school work, and your friendships. But our booklet is here to answer some of your questions.

You can order or download it here: A guide for young people looking after someone with cancer.

You might also be interested in this video, in which several young carers talk openly about their experiences:

 Still image from the video of young carers sharing their experiences

We're with you every step of the way

The Macmillan team is here to help. Our cancer support specialists can answer your questions, offer support, or simply listen if you need a chat. Call us free on 0808 808 00 00.

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