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Caring For Loved One With Cancer

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​What Is Cancer?

The term “cancer” refers to a group of diseases characterised by abnormal cell growth. Unlike normal cells, cancer cells divide and grow uncontrollably, and these excess cells form a mass of tissue called a tumour.

These tumours can either be non-cancerous (benign), which are rarely life-threatening, or harmful (malignant). Malignant tumours can make you very sick as they destroy other normal tissues on your body. However, not all types of cancers form tumours. For example, tumours are uncommon in Leukaemia, which is a cancer of the​ blood or bone marrow.

What's Next?

Upon a cancer diagnosis, you may develop strong emotions or feel uncertain about what you need to do as a caregiver. Learn more on what you can do in managing the cancer diagnosis here, and caregiving responsibilities throughout the journey here.

365 Cancer Prevention Society

Learn how to manage the nutrition of cancer patient from “Tips to Eat Well During Cancer Treatment” booklet.

Treatment Rehabilitation

The diagnosis and treatment of cancer often involve a cancer care team that consists of healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and social workers. This care team will come together to ensure that your loved one receives the best possible care. The care team will recommend suitable treatment options for your loved one, as this varies from person to person. Some of the common treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Cancer and its treatment can cause your loved one to experience multiple physical and emotional side effects, such as fatigue, muscle weakness, and poor memory. You can help your loved one to manage the symptoms and side effects of the treatment. Professional rehabilitation can help your loved one recover and reintegrate back into society. You can also support your loved one’s recovery journey by giving them encouragement for the problems that they may face when adjusting to their “new normal”.

Financial Schemes & Resources

Common costs for cancer-related care can include outpatient costs, medication, transportation charges, and so on. Other than caring for your loved one’s health, these costs may be a cause of concern for you as well. Your loved one can also use the financial assistance schemes to offset some of the expenses. In addition, be sure to also check with your insurance company if your loved one owns a health insurance plan, which medical costs are covered under the plan, and what to do in order to make the necessary claims.

Additionally, there are organisations such as the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) and 365 Cancer Prevention Society which also offer various forms of financial assistance to cancer patients and their families. Please visit their websites to find out more about their financial schemes available:

End-of- Life Preparation

Sometimes, the condition of your loved ones may be deteriorating and the goal is to make your loved one comfortable, and not to treat or for them to recover. This may be a difficult period. Learn more about preparing for end-of-life signs and care.

If you are struggling with the care needs of your loved one at home, Home-Based Respite Care may be able to provide you with some support.

Caring For Myself

Caregiving can be both physically and mentally exhausting. Over time, caregiver stress can lead to increased irritability, fatigue, frequent illness, headaches, and ultimately, burnout. While caring for your loved one, be sure to practise self-care as well by taking frequent breaks to recharge. You may feel guilty or selfish for paying attention to yourself, but remember that practising self-care is important for you as a caregiver to continue journeying with your loved one. Learn more about the importance of self-care and how to manage caregiver stress here.

Take time to try out relaxing activities such as Lymphatic Detox Exercise and join us at different locations if you need a community, or learn a healthy recipes from recipe videos/ recipe books.

There are support groups that you can attend with your loved one. These sessions create opportunities for you to meet with other caregivers caring for cancer patients; people who are going through or have gone through similar experiences so that you do not have to walk through this journey alone. Support groups also provide you with an opportunity to share personal experiences, feelings, and tips on how to care for your loved one.

Support Groups for caregivers caring for loved ones with cancer

Alternatively, you may visit Singapore Cancer Society’s Satellite Offices and Centres:

You may also visit 365 Cancer Prevention Society’s Office & Social Service Centres:

365 Cancer Prevention Society Centres’ and Office’s Operating Hours

Monday – Friday: 8:30am – 6:00pm

(Closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holiday)

Useful Resources

There are resources and toolkits available in the community.

Visit HealthHub for information on medical conditions, managing tips and healthy living. ​​

Learn More

Find tips on how to better care for your loved one. Who are you caring for?

Active Senior

Senior With Mobility Aids

Bedbound Senior

Senior Recovering From Stroke

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