“A cancer diagnosis affects close friends and family too. Find out what to expect if you become a caregiver for a person with cancer and get tips for making sure that you take care of yourself as well.”

These are the words you will see if you go to our American Cancer Society website — and click on the heading Treatment & Support. This month I would like to devote some attention to some very important allies in the cancer patient’s life – the caregiver(s). We always celebrate our survivors and caregivers at our American Cancer Society Relay For Life events, but we need to do a lot more than celebrate and thank our caregivers on occasion.

I decided to check out the resources that exist with a click on the computer keyboard on our very own website. I know that many folks don’t feel that the computer is personal enough and don’t see it as a source for compassionate information and care. I also know though that if you are a caregiver of any kind and especially if you are helping a loved one as they are going through cancer, your time and ability to leave the house can be very limited. With that in mind I looked at the information we have for caregivers and I am very happy to let you know that the information is not only thorough and up-to-date but personal and helpful as well.

Once you click on Treatment & Support you then go to Caregivers and Family. In this section you will have the following topics from which to choose:

· Interactive Caregiver Resource Guide

· Caregiver Support Video Series

· How to Care for Someone With Cancer

· Taking Care of Yourself as a Caregiver

· How to be Supportive to Someone with Cancer

· When Your Child Has Cancer

· American Cancer Society Support Programs and Services

Within each of the above topics is helpful information relating to that topic. I was very impressed that hard questions are dealt with as well, including things such as: “What if you don’t want to be the caregiver?” Additionally, there are videos to help the caregiver with things such as “Drain Care” and “Lifting.” While I’m sure the caregiver receives instruction from professional medical staff it can also be very helpful to have a video to refer to as often as you wish.

As you progress down the screen our Online Communities and Support are available. Be sure to look at them as well. Consider taking advantage of both the help you will receive from your loved one’s providers and the help you can receive online as you work to provide the best for your friend or loved one.

Connie Woodruff is a senior community development manager for the American Cancer Society. She is the staff partner for Relay For Life events in Adams and Franklin Counties. She can be reached at The American Cancer Society is available 24/7 at 1-800-227-2345.

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