Your New Role as a Caregiver

If you’re helping your loved one through cancer treatment, you are a caregiver. Find out how you can provide help and what you need to know.


Anne Jäkel

Roland Schäfli

Nur Barlasakli


What Are Your Responsibilities as a Caregiver

As a caregiver, your help is critical as your loved one receives lung cancer therapy. Remember, it is OK to ask questions during visits, but the patient should speak first. If you have more questions, you should make an appointment to talk with the doctor alone. You may advise your loved one to take charge of his or her lung cancer care and provide help in a variety of ways. For example:

1. Ensure that all appointments are maintained and that all treatment recommendations are followed. You may assist your loved one in being organized and getting to and from lung cancer treatments.

2. Learn about the lung cancer treatment team. You will feel more at ease asking questions this way.

3. Following items can be useful during a doctor’s appointment:

  • List of drugs, allergies, and medical history for your loved one;
  • Any changes in symptoms, nutrition, or exercise that you have seen;
  • A list of questions and concerns;
  • A pen and a notebook.

4. When in doubt, call the doctor.

Call the doctor straight away if your loved one experiences any of the following lung cancer therapy adverse effects:

  • Black or bloody bowel movements;
  • Bleeding from your nose or gums;
  • Blurred vision;
  • Bruising without injury;
  • Chest pain or tightness;
  • Chills;
  • Confusion;
  • Constipation that lasts more than three days;
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than one day;
  • Dizziness;
  • Fainting;
  • Fever;
  • Headaches;
  • Intense fatigue;
  • Numbness;
  • Pain while urinating;
  • Pain, redness, swelling, or pus at the surgical site;
  • Pink or red urine;
  • Pounding or rapidly beating heart;
  • Progressive weakness;
  • Rash;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Severe depression or anxiety;
  • Suicidal thoughts;
  • Tingling;
  • Vomiting and not being able to keep down fluids;
  • Worsened skin reaction.

Keep the following in mind when attending an appointment with the patient:

  • Allow the patient to do the most of the talking;
  • Take thorough notes and ensure that all of your queries are addressed.

You are concerned about your loved one’s needs and well-being as a carer for someone with lung cancer. It’s easy to forget that caregivers have needs as well, and combining your loved one’s demands with your own may be challenging. You can stay healthy and even be a better caregiver if you seek help and pay attention to your own health.

Here are some tips that may help you:

  • Maintain your health. Taking care of your own health also contributes to the health of your loved one. Try to eat well and exercise, and get enough rest.
  • Count on others. Most people want to help you and your family, but they’re not sure how. Take advantage of the help that others provide so that you may take a break from caring for others. Request that someone drops over food, aids with errands, or simply spends time sitting with your loved one so you can get some alone time. Set up one of the various caregiving support applications to keep in touch with your loved ones and coordinate their assistance.
  • Help your loved one to understand. During doctor’s appointments, your loved one may be too overwhelmed to ask the correct questions and grasp all the doctor says. Your involvement as a caregiver in assisting the patient in staying organized is vital. Take careful notes, ask questions, and even seek a private consultation with the doctor if there are any issues you’d like to discuss outside of the standard appointment time.
  • Talk with your loved one about palliative care. Palliative care, also known as supportive care, assists patients in feeling their best during treatment, both physically and emotionally. Palliative care is sometimes misinterpreted as just being provided at the end of life, however, it is also suitable and generally suggested at the beginning of therapy.
  • Consider the future. Many patients expend all of their energy simply attempting to stay healthy while undergoing therapy. They may not be considering what has to be done in order to continue receiving the care they want and desire, such as completing an advance directive. Throughout the way health care providers may assist with this, but caregivers should also start having critical talks with their loved ones about the future so that decisions concerning the patient’s well-being can be made ahead of time.


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