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Caregiving and Cancer

Caregivers play an integral role in their cancer patient or loved one’s journey. They are the soldiers fighting behind the scenes for their patients or loved ones.

We salute your commitment and determination to care, regardless of what may be required of you, and we want you to know that we are here for you, because you need support too.

We know that most Caregivers don’t choose this role, but it is one that is suddenly thrown upon their shoulders when a family member, loved one or colleague is diagnosed with cancer and urgently needs support and care. No first-time caregiver knows what to do, as no journey with cancer is the same and there are no rules and regulations to follow, however CANSA is able to offer knowledge, information, support and encouragement whenever required.

At times compassion fatigue sets in where the Caregiver no longer cares for themselves. Known as ‘Caregiver Burnout’, this condition is the culmination of stress, emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and low self-esteem. It is essential that this is dealt with sooner rather than later.

Top Tips for Caregivers:

  • Find support and talk to others who are in a similar situation. This can help you cope with common feelings of anger, guilt, isolation, fear, sadness, or anticipatory grief.
  • Know when you are stressed and learn the signs of your stress that may include feeling exhausted, getting sick more often, sleeplessness, impatience, irritability and forgetfulness.
  • Take time out and make time for yourself and others. Although a person with cancer has many needs that require your attention, just remember you do too, so spend time doing something you enjoy, with the people you love.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself. Be kind and patient with yourself and remember it’s normal to experience occasional bouts of anger or frustration, along with the guilt of having those feelings. Search for a positive way to deal with these feelings.
  • Take care of yourself. Make time to exercise, eat healthy foods, stay hydrated, and get enough sleep.
  • Stay positive. Having an optimistic attitude helps set the tone for everything you do and take on.

Infographic – Tips to Avoid Burnout

Fact Sheet – Guidelines for Caregivers on Taking Care of Themselves

Patient Rights and Rights of Caregivers

Guide for Palliative Care at Home

We recognise that Caregiving is very stressful, and we have created a Facebook Support Group CANSA Caring for the Caregivers to enable Caregivers to meet with others in a similar position and to share caregiving tips / advice and caregiving highs and lows. There are also online resources which Caregivers may share with their loved one or patient.

Dominique Forbes-Rose (Caregiver) says of caregiving, “In many ways it is a very lonely journey. It is just as traumatising for the carer, as for the cancer patient. You give so much of yourself to look after your loved one, you have no time to look after yourself. And with that, you don’t want to worry the patient about everything that you are taking care of behind the scenes, because they need to focus on getting healthy. It is probably the toughest mental wellness journey you can ever go through, and you need a support network to help you. I am so grateful that CANSA has a platform of support for us carers – it is so important to get that support.”

CANSA also offers support through counselling and training on how to support a patients. You can also enquire about our community home based care, CANSA Care Homes for patients receiving treatment far from home and CANSA Care Rooms providing respite care. We can also assist your loved one or patient with dietary tips; stoma care and affordable quality products; advice regarding lymphoedema management; breast prostheses and bras; adult incontinence wear, wigs (natural or synthetic); medical equipment hire and assistive devices.

Contact your local CANSA Care Centre for more information.

Please Complete 2024 Global Patient Survey for Lymphoma / CLL Patients and Caregivers

Calling on all Lymphoma / CLL patients and their caregivers to complete the Lymphoma Coalition’s 2024 Global Patient Survey on Lymphomas and CLL. Your input will result in better care globally for people living with Lymphoma / CLL. Thanks in advance for your support!

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Published: 16 February 2024
Updated: 29 February 2024
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, Advocacy, Caregiving and Cancer, I have Cancer, Types of cancer

CANSA Introduces Additional Support Service for Children with Cancer 

As a parent of a child with cancer, CANSA understands that this can be an extremely challenging and overwhelming time. When a child receives a diagnosis of cancer, parents must understand the treatment plan and its potential impact on the child’s daily life and the family. This understanding can help them cope and start planning for the future.  CANSA knows only too well how children’s cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming and has launched an additional support resource to its Tough Living with Cancer (TLC) programme. The online programme, which costs a nominal R270, focuses on brain profiling for the parent and four to nine-year-old cancer-diagnosed children.  The insights gained from the brain profiling will help to enhance parents and guardians’ connection with their children and support their well-being throughout their cancer journey.  

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Published: 14 February 2024
Updated: 29 February 2024
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, CANSA's Tough Living with Cancer (TLC) Programme, Caregiving and Cancer, Media Releases & News

Renel Le Roux and Zanele Mkhwanazi Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) survivors Share their Journey

Two Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) survivors share their journey as we mark International Metastatic Breast Cancer Day…

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Published: 13 October 2023
Updated: 31 October 2023
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, Caregiving and Cancer, I have Cancer, Types of cancer, Women's Health

Impact of Breast Cancer on Mental Health

Breast cancer affects many South African women being the most common among women in the country. Prioritising mental well-being can make the breast cancer journey more manageable. CANSA understands this and offers counselling services and support groups to support cancer survivors and caregivers emotionally.

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Published: 28 September 2023
Updated: 31 October 2023
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, Caregiving and Cancer, I have Cancer, Media Releases & News, Women's Health

Casting Light on Lymphoma: Understanding a Stealthy Disease

CANSA marks World Lymphoma Day on 15 September, raising awareness of lymphoma, a cancer impacting thousands of lives.  This annual event highlights the importance of early detection, advancements in treatment, and the determined spirit of individuals living with lymphoma head-on. Chantel Memziwe, a cancer survivor, shares a remarkable tale of courage and resilience, when getting Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL). Diagnosed twice with this cancer, first in 2017 with stage 4 NHL, Chantel’s journey symbolises unwavering determination…

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Published: 13 September 2023
Updated: 8 December 2023
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, Caregiving and Cancer, I have Cancer, Men's Health, Types of cancer, Women's Health

Love Shack SA Branded Cancer Awareness T-shirts & Mugs to Benefit CANSA

The Love Shack SA will donate R20 from the sale of every cancer awareness T-shirt sold, and R7,50 per standard mug and R9,50 per magic mug sold…

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Published: 2 June 2023
Updated: 2 June 2023
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, CANSA's Tough Living with Cancer (TLC) Programme, Caregiving and Cancer, Fundraising Events & Projects, I have Cancer, No Alcohol, Our Cause Related Marketing Partners, Women's Health

CANSA Ask The Expert Virtual Support Group – 26 April 2023

Join our virtual support group – on 26 April 2023 – where guest speaker, Dr Kerry-Ann Louw discusses depression and anxiety.

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Published: 21 April 2023
Updated: 30 May 2023
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, CANSA Webinars, Caregiving and Cancer, I have Cancer, Men's Health, Women's Health

CANSA Service Spotlight – Sr Vlooi Venter and Stoma Department on World Ostomy Day

Sr Vlooi Venter is CANSA’s Clinical Support and Stoma Manager. She says,”It can take a while to adapt to living with a stoma, this is not an easy process, so it is important to seek guidance and educate yourself and loved ones. Taking a new ostomate’s hand, who is about to give up on life, and easing their anxiety by walking alongside them teaching them about life with a stoma and stoma products, until they feel they have regained their independence and will to live is immensely satisfying”…

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Published: 20 March 2023
Updated: 15 February 2024
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, Caregiving and Cancer, I have Cancer, Men's Health, Women's Health, Work for CANSA

CANSA Men Supporting Men Cancer Support Group – 22 March 2023

22 March 2023 – CANSA support group member, Ben George, shares his journey with cancer.

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Published: 16 March 2023
Updated: 23 March 2023
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, Caregiving and Cancer, I have Cancer, Men's Health

Knowledge for Life: CANSA Unveils Podcast Series For #GivingTuesday

In a significant step towards community education, CANSA introduces a podcast series sharing helpful insights into lowering the cancer risk and care. This initiative underlines CANSA’s commitment to educating the public with knowledge that can make a difference in the fight against cancer…

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Published: 22 February 2023
Updated: 7 March 2024
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, About Cancer, Advocacy, Balanced Lifestyle, CANSA on the Move for the Youth, CANSA's Seal of Recognition, Caregiving and Cancer, Environment, I have Cancer, Media Releases & News, Men's Health, No Alcohol, No-Tobacco Campaign, Our Corporate Social Investment Partners, SunSmart, Women's Health, World Cancer Day - 4 Feb

CANSA Men Supporting Men Cancer Support Group – 22 February 2023

22 February 2023 – Topic:  Palliative Care and My Cancer Journey – the speaker is Dr Thilo Govender…

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Published: 20 February 2023
Updated: 22 February 2023
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, Caregiving and Cancer, I have Cancer, Men's Health

CANSA Men Supporting Men Cancer Support group – 7 December 2022

Whytie de Witt will be sharing about his cancer journey…

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Published: 2 December 2022
Updated: 9 December 2022
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, Caregiving and Cancer, I have Cancer, Men's Health

Cape Argus Facebook Live – Get Educated About Breast Cancer – 27 October 2022

Watch video recording – Dr Francois Malherbe, Head of Breast and Surgical Endocrine Unit Groote Schuur Hospital and University of Cape Town, and Lucy Balona (CANSA) discussed breast cancer on Facebook…

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Published: 25 October 2022
Updated: 22 December 2022
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, CANSA Webinars, Caregiving and Cancer, I have Cancer, Women's Health

CANSA Men Supporting Men Cancer Support group – 8 October 2022

Virtual CANSA Men Supporting Men Cancer Support group – 8 October 2022 with Shaheed Mahomed.

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Published: 6 October 2022
Updated: 10 October 2022
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, Caregiving and Cancer, I have Cancer, Men's Health

Seminar: Unpacking the Implications of Constitutional Guarantees on the Right to Health for Cancer Patients

CANSA / Cancer Alliance invites you to a seminar on 6 October 2022 “Unpacking the Implications of Constitutional Guarantees on the Right to Health for Cancer Patients”…

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Published: 25 September 2022
Updated: 7 October 2022
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, Advocacy, CANSA Webinars, Caregiving and Cancer, I have Cancer

Children, Food and Cancer  

In September, CANSA raises awareness of childhood cancer and the importance of support for children and parents affected specifically regarding food and diets. CANSA TLC partnered with B-well to produce a booklet, ‘Understanding a Child’s Dietary Needs When They are Diagnosed with Cancer’ for parents to better manage the dietary side effects their children experience while on cancer treatment…

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Published: 20 September 2022
Updated: 17 October 2022
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, CANSA's Tough Living with Cancer (TLC) Programme, Caregiving and Cancer, Dietary Tips

CANSA Men Supporting Men Cancer Support group – 27 August 2022

CANSA Men Supporting Men Cancer Support group – 27 August 2022. Our speaker will be Michael Meredith (neuroendocrine lung cancer Survivor, trained counsellor and end of life doula…

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Published: 25 August 2022
Updated: 29 August 2022
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, Caregiving and Cancer, I have Cancer, Men's Health

Spousal Caregiving & Burnout

Charmaine Stumke, shares her journey as caregiver to her husband Len…

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Published: 24 July 2022
Updated: 28 July 2022
Categories: Caregiving and Cancer

Men Supporting Men Support Group with Xylon van Eyck – 23 July 2022

CANSA invites male cancer patients and survivors to join our next support group meeting via Zoom.  We are excited that our speaker will be Xylon van Eyck, cancer survivor and Ironman athlete, sharing his journey and how he overcomes challenges…

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Published: 21 July 2022
Updated: 28 July 2022
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, CANSA Webinars, Caregiving and Cancer, I have Cancer, Men's Health

Support is At the End of a Telephone Call

CANSA is committed to protecting the rights of cancer patients and caregivers, having established a free Tele Counselling service (available in seven languages), two years ago in commemoration of Nelson Mandela International Day (18 July).  CANSA recognises commitment to human rights and that all affected by cancer are entitled to psycho-social support…

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Published: 15 July 2022
Updated: 1 September 2022
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, CANSA Eastern Cape, CANSA Free State, CANSA Gauteng, CANSA KwaZulu-Natal, CANSA Limpopo, CANSA Mpumalanga, CANSA North West, CANSA Northern Cape, CANSA Western Cape, Caregiving and Cancer, I have Cancer, Media Releases & News

CANSA Men Supporting Men Cancer Support group – 25 June 2022

Join the CANSA Men Supporting Men Cancer Support group on 25 June 2022 from 9 00 to 10 00…

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Published: 24 June 2022
Updated: 27 June 2022
Categories: A Loved One has Cancer, Caregiving and Cancer, I have Cancer, Men's Health

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