This month, the American Cancer Society is recognizing the unsung heroes who invest in the care of patients battling cancer. Caregivers are a growing group, with an estimated 16.9 million cancer survivors currently in the U.S. This group will likely grow in the next decade as more people survive cancer and the general population ages.
Caregivers are a crucial part of any cancer care team. ACS recently developed a video series that provides medical skills instruction and offers tips on how to stay healthy.
“Caregivers are essential to providing support and encouragement to cancer patients,” said Rachel Cannady, strategic director of cancer caregiver support. “This video series is a great resource to help educate caregivers as they assist with the everyday needs of cancer patients and offers guidance to improve quality of life.”
The series kicks off with an emotional video from Kristin Klingshirn who gives candid advice to others who are taking care of loved ones during a devastating diagnosis of cancer. Kristin is still coming to terms with her experience as a caregiver during her father’s diagnosis, treatment, and eventual death from the disease.
NeNe Leakes, American Cancer Society Ambassador and star of Real Housewives of Atlanta, contributed to the series by sharing her personal perspective for caring for her husband Gregg. “When Gregg got diagnosed with cancer, our entire family had cancer,” said Leakes. “Being a caregiver has got to be one of the hardest jobs, and my heart goes out to every caregiver out there who is supporting their family and are having to put everything on hold in order to do so.”
The Caregiver Support Video Series is a collaboration between ACS and EMD Serono through its Embracing Carers™ initiative, to help caregivers support loved ones at all stages – whether hours after a diagnosis, in the middle of the night, or months into treatment and recovery.
In addition, there are videos designed to aid caregivers with their own emotional needs. The caregiver self-care videos focus on healthy eating, physical activity, stress management, fear of recurrence, and relaxation.
If you’re a caregiver to a loved one, or know someone who is, checkout the video series at cancer.org/caregivervideos, as well as the other resources available to help caregivers take of the cancer patient and themselves.