Today is World Diabetes Day. This year the focus is on family and diabetes. It is estimated that about 20% of people with cancer also have diabetes. That’s a large group of people dealing with both cancer and diabetes. If someone in your family has both cancer and diabetes, there are certain things you could do to help. In this blog, cancer information development intern Molly talks about a few different ways you can support family members who are affected by diabetes and cancer. 

Family support can be very important. Going through cancer is already tough – adding diabetes to the equation can make things even more complicated. Diabetes can have a major impact. But you can work together as a family to make things easier. These are a few ideas to get you started:

Talk about it

If a family member is coping with diabetes and cancer, a great thing you can do is talk with them. Ask them how they’re feeling, or if there’s anything they’d like to discuss. Together, you can figure out what will be most helpful for them. They might need a lift to their appointments, help out with child care, or even just a hug.

Help out with household chores

For many people with cancer and diabetes, household chores can be difficult due to a lack of time or energy. You could help with cooking, possibly making a few meals that can be frozen. Kids could make one family meal a week, which may help them learn responsibility and be great fun too. You could help with the shopping, or the cleaning. Small differences like this could really help someone struggling with fatigue.

Start being healthier together

A large part of managing type 2 diabetes is adopting a healthy lifestyle. You can reduce your risk of developing diabetes by keeping healthy. Getting active with other people can make it more enjoyable, and it’s a great way to spend time with the family. You might want to try swimming or going for a family walk. Eating a healthy diet can also be useful – you could try making a new recipe, or set goals for the family to eat all of their five a day, for example.

This image shows a quote from Clare about how she deals with diabetes while undergoing cancer treatment, saying I live on my own and sometimes don’t have the energy to cook. I can’t have ready-made stuff because it has a lot of sugar in it. A veggie stir-fry is good to try because it’s healthy, cheap and quite easy.

There are many more things you can do to help a family member with cancer and diabetes, but we hope this blog has given you some ideas of places to start. We teamed up with Diabetes UK to make our free booklet, Diabetes and cancer treatment. We also have this information on our website. We also have a previous blog post you might like to read. In it, Clare tells her story about coping with diabetes and cancer treatment. 


To see what else Macmillan's cancer information team has been blogging about, please visit our blog home page! You can subscribe to receive our blogs by email or RSS too.

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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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