4 common challenges that cancer caregivers face

Cancer in any form is quite fatal. It can be treated only when diagnosed in the initial stages. In the later stages, cancer treatments are directed towards managing the symptoms and providing relief to the patient. Life becomes quite difficult for cancer patients as their body starts deteriorating, preventing them from carrying out their daily activities. However, this is where cancer caregivers step in. These caregivers look after most of the patient’s day-to-day tasks.

Cancer caregivers can be one’s partner, family members, or friends. One can even hire a professional cancer caregiver for this very purpose. Cancer caregivers ensure that the patient experiences some normalcy in their life. They also play a vital role in providing emotional support to their patients whenever needed. The duties of a cancer caregiver include giving medications, managing the side effects, and informing the doctor about any problems faced by the patient.

Cancer caregivers provide around-the-clock care to cancer patients but face certain hurdles while doing so. The common obstacles experienced by cancer caregivers are as follows:

Shifting roles
A cancer caregiver can be one’s spouse, sibling, or any other relative, and this means that the caregiver has to play multiple roles. A caregiver has to dedicate their time to several duties such as accompanying the cancer patient to their next chemotherapy appointment, ensuring that all the bills are paid, etc. These changing roles can prove to be quite taxing and can strain the caregiver’s relationship with their loved ones. On the one hand, the cancer caregiver has to attend to the patient, and on the other hand, they have to ensure that they fulfill their work responsibilities too.

Burnout
Cancer caregiving is a noble job, but it is physically and emotionally draining. As there are so many things to be done, it takes a toll on the caregiver’s health as well. They may experience fatigue, loss of appetite, or insomnia. On the emotional front, cancer caregivers often experience anxiety, anger, guilt, frustration, or helplessness, as they feel that their efforts are futile because their loved ones aren’t showing signs of improvement.

Depression
Watching a loved one slowly lose their battle against cancer is quite heart-wrenching. It can affect the cancer caregiver’s mental health immensely. Caregivers often suffer from depression as they feel their efforts are futile. Also, they tend to shift their entire focus on ensuring that the cancer patient’s needs are met and ignore themselves while doing so. Though empathizing with the patient is necessary, one shouldn’t lose themselves in the process.

Illness
Cancer caregiving is a demanding job. In a bid to get everything done, cancer caregivers often fall prey to illnesses that stem out of exhaustion and carelessness. Fatigue, loss of appetite, and depression pose a great threat to the caregiver’s health.

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