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The Truth About Cancer
Take One Step: A PBS Health Campaign
The Truth About Cancer + Take One Step: A Conversation About Cancer with Linda Ellerbee  

Care for Caregivers
< Resources for Living with and through Cancer

One out of three people in the United States is diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, so almost anyone can find him or herself providing care for someone—a parent, a child, a spouse, a partner, or a friend. Of all the challenges cancer brings you as a caregiver, two of the most substantial are facing the demands put on you and sorting out your feelings about what's going on in your life.

Some days, you may feel overwhelmed, hopeless, resentful, or even angry. You can't possibly be the superhero you seem expected to be. But on other days, you're ready to fight for the survivor in your life; you see that you're making progress; you remember that there's always reason for hope.

The key is to recognize how natural all these thoughts and feelings are, including the one feeling you do not have to fear: the sense that you are failing. You've got the toughest job in the world—anything positive you can do is a victory.

Skills to Help You as a Caregiver

Learning how to balance the needs of the person you are caring for with your own needs takes time. To reach that goal, you'll benefit by strengthening these basic skills:

Taking Care of Yourself

While you are building skills that will help you in the caregiver role, you also must remember your own needs, and develop the habit of taking care of yourself.

There's no question—being a caregiver is a hard job. There are times when you will feel burdened and exhausted. The most effective things you can do are take care of yourself and reach out to others. Don't let yourself become isolated from those who can help.

Resources

National Coalition of Cancer Survivorship
"Cancer Survival Toolbox"
www.canceradvocacy.org/toolbox
Visit the following section: Caring for the Caregiver.

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