Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

A carer is a person who helps someone with a disability or during an illness such as cancer.

As a carer, you may be a family member, relative, friend or neighbour. You may provide care for a few hours once a week or 24 hours a day. You may be assisting with daily chores, preparing meals and co-ordinating medical appointments, or you could be providing emotional and spiritual support.

When someone you love has cancer things can change for everyone.  It is important that you learn about the needs of the person you are caring for and how to manage your own needs.

You may find the following resources particularly helpful.

  • Caring for someone with canceris a booklet which includes information on common emotional reactions, other carers’ experiences, caring for yourself, asking others for help, how relationships change, communication, advanced cancer, death and grieving and support and information.
  • Carers WA – is a community-based organisation dedicated to improving the lives of family carers living in Western Australia. It offers free membership and provides information and support to you in your caring role. There is a wide range of information and resources available on their website. You can contact your nearest Carers association on 1300 227 377 to obtain free information on a range of topics.
  • Carer Gateway – is a government program providing free services and support for carers, including practical, financial and emotional support. It can also assist with organising emergency respite care. The website lists its range of services and supports available and how to access them. You can contact Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737.

The Carers WA  and Carer Gateway websites also provides some very helpful information about services and practical strategies to help you manage your day to day responsibilities.

Caring may affect you in many different ways. You may find that you have feelings that are hard to understand and sometimes hard to talk about. Feelings are not ‘good’ or ‘bad’, they are perfectly normal in most circumstances. It is helpful to talk about feelings. To speak with one of our team today, call our 13 11 20 Cancer Information and Support Line.

Many carers say they feel lost and unable to talk to the person they care for. They fear they might say the wrong thing, or not know what to say or how to respond. You may feel you have to be supportive and strong for the person with cancer and worry you might break down. Don’t be afraid to show your true feelings, it is a difficult time and it is natural to release genuine emotion. Value your relationship and treat the person who is ill as you always have, with warmth and concern. The booklet Caring for someone with cancer  provides information about what a person with cancer may be going through. It also offers ideas about what you might say and do.

Just be yourself, you don’t have to talk, just listen. The Emotions and cancer booklet and emotions and cancer page may also help.

In a caring role it is also very important to look after yourself. When you attend to your own wellbeing you boost your quality of life. In turn, your wellbeing ensures you have the energy and capacity to face any challenges coming your way. This means you can provide more effective support to the people around you.

Don’t feel guilty about taking some time out. If you need respite you can call:

  • Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre, 1800 052 222 during business hours
  • 1800 059 059 for emergency respite support outside standard business hours.

You may also find that some of the complementary therapies offered by Cancer Council WA are beneficial for you.

There are many booklets and resources with information about cancer and these are available to download from this website or you may like to phone our 13 11 20 Cancer Information and Support Line13 11 20 Cancer Information and Support Line to request a copy be sent to you.

There are a range of support services that enable you to talk to someone else. To discuss your individual needs you can speak to a cancer nurse on our 13 11 20 Cancer Information and Support Line or email a query. Alternatively, we have a range of other support programs in place, including:

  • Cancer Connect is a one-on-one telephone peer support program that enables you to speak with a specially trained volunteer who has cared for a relative undergoing cancer treatment.
  • Cancer support groups, some of which are run by people affected by cancer, can provide support and information that is helpful to carers as well as patients. Information about groups that exist in WA is available. Contact our 13 11 20 Cancer Information and Support Line.
  • Carer Telephone Support Group run by Cancer Council NSW, allows you to connect with other people caring for a family member, friend or loved one with a cancer diagnosis. This group provides the opportunity and space to share and discuss what it is like to be caring for someone with cancer.
  • Cancer Council Online Community is an online forum where you can talk with someone who is caring for someone with cancer. You may like to share your own thoughts on what is going on for you with others in a similar situation.

A carer is a person who helps someone with a disability or during an illness such as cancer. You may find the information about caring for someone with a cancer diagnosis in this booklet helpful.

We also have support and guidance for carers and West Australians with advanced cancer. Often, advanced cancer cannot be cured by current treatments. However, treatment can often slow the growth and spread of the cancer and reduce its symptoms. Treatment can keep some cancers under control for long periods, often for months and sometimes for years. For more information, click here.

You might find information about palliative care helpful and answer some of the frequently asked questions. A range of recommended resources are available on our Palliative Care page.

You may find the information on our after a cancer diagnosis page helpful.

The practical skills and knowledge required to provide effective care or to support your family member or friend can be daunting, especially if your caring role is unexpected. You might find the information on our practical issues after a cancer diagnosis page helpful.

You may find the following resources particularly helpful:

  • Caring for someone with cancer – is a booklet which includes information on common emotional reactions, other carers’ experiences, caring for yourself, asking others for help, how relationships change, communication, advanced cancer, death and grieving and support and information.
  • Carers WA – is a community-based organisation dedicated to improving the lives of family carers living in Western Australia. It offers free membership and provides information and support to you in your caring role. There is a wide range of information and resources available on their website. You can contact your nearest Carers association on 1300 227 377 to obtain free information on a range of topics.
  • Carer Gateway – is a government program providing free services and support for carers, including practical, financial and emotional support. It can also assist with organising emergency respite care. The website lists its range of services and supports available and how to access them. You can contact Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737.

The Carers WA  and Carer Gateway websites also provides some very helpful information about services and practical strategies to help you manage your day to day responsibilities.