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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I care for someone with cancer?

    My father has just been diagnosed with prostate cancer and I’m wondering if there are things I should be doing or not doing in assisting with his care.
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    Carers provide care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness or who are frail aged.We … View Profile

    Each person's post-diagnosis journey is different, and individual to them. Sometimes the person who has been diagnosed just needs to know you're there for them - sometimes they will need more hands-on help.

    One of the important things you can do is to give your dad a lot of loving support. A prostate cancer diagnosis - no matter what stage or form - is concerning and there will be a lot of questions and emotions that you all might not know how to handle yet. This is a normal. What to do after a cancer diagnosis is not something you’re supposed to know – let yourself feel what you feel, and seek answers as the questions come.
     
    Hopefully, it will quickly become clear what kind of support your dad needs - someone to talk to, help with cooking and cleaning, someone to drive him to appointments, etc. If you’re not sure – ask! Many men try to take on their own care and internalise their concerns and fears; try not to get frustrated if he does that – just let him know that you are there any time he needs to talk.
     
    REMEMBER: you also need to look after yourself. If you take on too much and burnout, you can’t help anyone! Stay healthy and take care of your own needs – talk to friends about how you’re feeling or access counselling, eat well, get plenty of sleep, and stay active.  
     
    Call 1800 242 636 to connect to the Carer Advisory Line in your state or territory – they can offer guidance and support specific to your circumstances. We also have advice on our website: www.carersvictoria.org.au
     
    You can also get in touch with the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20 – they can offer you advice on helping your dad, and what to expect with prostate cancer. http://www.cancervic.org.au/about-cancer/information_for_carers

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