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Cancer caregivers are primarily motivated by love and sense of duty

(reposted from National Library of Medicine 3.17.24

Caregivers of Cancer Blog

Cancer is a debilitating disease for which patients often need caretakers to help them live their lives and complete basic activities. This study aims to characterize the burden of the caretaker. A 14-question survey was sent out to randomly selected United States cancer caretakers to analyze the social, emotional, and physical burden of their caretaking. The results show that a majority of caretakers are direct family to the patient (69.5%). The patients’ cancers are often in early stages with about 54.5% having stage 1 cancer and 22.5% having stage 2 cancer while only 8.5% had stage 3 cancer and 17.8% had stage 4 cancer. When asked about their motivation, caretakers most often do it because of love (58.82%) with family responsibilities/duty being the second highest reason (35.56%). When asked about their biggest burden, many caretakers said that grief was the biggest issue (30.50%) with mental health issues also being troublesome (28%). 75.6% of respondents said that being a cancer caretaker has negatively impacted their mental health from either anxiety (37.29%), depression (33.9%), or other conditions (4.41%). When asked about the negative impacts of being a caregiver, 43.5% stated they faced high financial costs to give care, and 35% stated they met a lack of social support or lost friends. In comparison, 33% stated they had negative physical impacts. The number of participants who face overwhelming or high stress nearly quintupled from baseline, from 13% to 59.5%. This cross-sectional survey of US adults demonstrates that there are clear negative impacts on cancer caregivers on their physical, financial, social, and mental health. These data underscore the importance of taking care of patients’ caregivers.

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