Supporting a Loved One Through Cancer Treatment

Supporting a Loved One Through Cancer Treatment

We often see conversations around cancer treatment on the Online Community. It can be concerns around treatment decisions for family members or other loved ones, dealing with side effects, or simply looking for emotional support and support groups. We know these situations can be a difficult time for people affected by cancer. However you want to talk about cancer treatment, we’re here to listen. 

“Today is an ok day. Just popping in to say hi, and express my gratitude to the existence of this forum.”

Online Community member, Ovarian cancer forum

"Thank you so much, your reply has really lifted me, it’s really helpful to hear from people who are going through it. Very grateful to have found this forum xx"

Online Community member, Cervical cancer forum

Making Treatment decisions

We know from our Community members that facing cancer treatment decisions can be overwhelming. Often it can be a lot of information to process at once, whether it be for your own cancer diagnosis or that of a loved one. It’s a lot to think about when you’re asked to make healthcare decisions.

"Hi my husband has just been diagnosed with a melanoma and was given options.  He felt totally overwhelmed and uninformed about them."

Online Community Member, Melanoma forum

"I have no idea how to make this decision because the consultant seems to have no opinion on whether it is likely I will react badly again or tolerate it next time."

Online Community Member, Melanoma forum

Towards the end of last year we wrote a blog about this topic called ‘Making cancer treatment decisions’ which you can find here

We also followed up with a blog this year for those who might be confused about their diagnosis or treatment options.

Whether you are a cancer patient or a caregiver, reading about how other people affected by cancer coped with treatment decisions might help you to feel better about your own choices or those of a loved one. Of course if it is medical advice you are seeking, these conversations are best had with your medical teams at the hospital or your GP.

If you’ve already spoken to your GP or medical team at the hospital and are still looking for medical input, why not reach out to one of our Cancer Information Nurse Specialists.

Our Cancer Information Nurse Specialists can give advice and support to people living with cancer. They are available to caregivers and other loved ones of people affected by cancer too. There are lots of different ways to contact them including chatting over the phone, reaching out by email, or talking on webchat.

In terms of the Online Community, you can also ask them a question here from Monday to Friday - 9am till 5pm.

Dealing with Symptoms and Side effects

We often see members talking about dealing with symptoms or side effects of cancer treatment.

“I'm really struggling at the moment, physically and mentally. I'm finding the symptoms of my cancer really hard to live and deal with and now I'm suffering from depression, and that's got really bad.”

Online Community Member, New to the Community forum

It is always important to highlight, when talking about side effects of cancer treatment or symptoms you might be worried about - If you have new / changing or persistent symptoms it is important you discuss them with your GP or medical team at the hospital.

The NHS 111 service can also help with assessing symptoms or explaining where to get help, the service is available 24 hours a day.

Aside from the medical side of things, the Online Community is always here for help with the emotional side of facing symptoms and side effects. There are many people already talking about this on the Community, you will likely find you are not alone in how you feel.

"Hello sandy.

I can empathise, I finished my treatment 2-3 weeks ago .it seems everyone is different regarding side effects. …
all the best to you as you carry on with treatment & remember you’re not alone
x"

Online Community member, Bowel cancer forum

One common side effect of cancer treatment is fatigue. Last year, we wrote a blog about it called ‘Cancer and fatigue. When do you start feeling less tired?. We’re sure anyone facing the challenges of fatigue will still find the blog relevant today. 

Whatever symptom or side effect you are dealing with, the Online Community is always here to support you with the emotional side of this.

Cancer Support Groups

Emotional support, for people effected by cancer, is a pillar of the Online Community.

Supporting someone through cancer treatment doesn’t only refer to the physical and practical support someone might need. Treatment can be a trying time for cancer patients and caregivers alike. It’s important everyone involved has support for their own well-being.

"I am a very positive person who likes to look at the bright side of everything and hope for the best, however, my outlook is not helping matters. I hate to see my husband struggling and fearing if the future is bleak how would he cope if already he is almost beaten."

Online Community Member, Bowel cancer forum

The Online Community will always be a place you can share and talk about the difficult emotions you might be feeling. It is a safe and anonymous place where you can share in ways which might not feel comfortable with those around you. A judgement free space to talk to others who understand, because they’ve been there.

Supporting Someone as a Carer

We often read that the challenges facing caregivers for people affected by cancer can be difficult to deal with.

"Unless you have been a Carer I don’t think you can fully understand just what a hard job it is."

Online Community Member, How do you cope as a carer blog

It is understandable that these can be personal and unique to those caring for loved ones facing cancer, or cancer treatment. For this reason, we have an ‘only’ space for support on the Online Community.

The Community’s Carers only forum is a safe and supportive space where you can share and talk about your worries and emotions. In here, you will only speak to other caregivers supporting loved ones facing cancer.

Community member and Macmillan volunteer Wee Me shared some coping strategies for carers in our recent blog ‘”I’m fine”: how do you really cope as a carer? blog.

Palliative and End of Life Cancer Treatment

We, at Macmillan, have a page with information around advanced cancers which you can find here. Marie Curie have also put together a page around palliative care, for anyone who would like to read more about what it means. 

Often on hearing palliative care, people can tend to think about end of life treatment. Whilst there can be similarities with these two types of treatment, it’s worth acknowledging that some peoples’ palliative cancer treatment can continue for years.

You can share your feelings around palliative cancer treatment on the Online Community.

We have an 'only' space for people affected by incurable cancers on the Community. It's our 'Living with incurable cancer forum - patients only'. Patients with an incurable diagnosis can use this forum as safe space to talk to others with an incurable diagnosis too. 

We do also have a space for those who want to talk specifically about end of life treatment, which you can find here

Whether it’s practical or emotional challenges you are facing, for your own or a loved one’s cancer treatment, the Online Community is always here for you. You can post how you are feeling 24 hours a day. Many people feel better for letting it out.

"Thanks so much Lebs! That definitely makes me feel better for what’s ahead. I’m on my way to have my third dose now and I’m so glad I read this before as it has lifted my spirits a bit so thank you"

Community Member, Triple negative breast cancer forum

We hope you like this blog. We always want to create content people affected by cancer find valuable. If you have any comments or feedback at all, please feel free to use the comment section at the bottom of the page or email us at community@macmillan.org.uk anytime.

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