The American Cancer Society launched a video series to offer support for caregivers to address their questions and concerns throughout their loved one’s cancer journey.
BY Kristie L. Kahl
The American Cancer Society (ACS) created a video series for caregiver support to address their most-asked questions and address their biggest concerns, according to Rachel Cannady, strategic director of cancer caregiver support at the organization and creator of the videos.
“I want this to be the go-to hub for caregivers providing care… All of this really was not only a result of unmet needs, but also talking to a number of experts in the field of caregiving and seeing what the gaps are,” Cannady said. “(The video series) was really conceptualized by both the evidence and experts in the field.”
The Caregiver Support Video Series, a collaboration between ACS and EMD Serono through its Embracing Carers™ initiative, features 16 short videos on topics ranging from physical care training, caregiver self-care, advocacy, as well as other caregivers’ stories.
According to the ACS, with an estimated 16.9 million cancer survivors in the US, 31% of those caregivers recently surveyed have received no information or practical support in the past 12 months.
“(Caregivers want to know) where can I find information about how to care for the side effects of treatment?” Cannady said. “The other thing is how can I help my loved one cope with their cancer and its treatment? So how do I help my partner deal with their anxiety or depression that they're experiencing through this process?”
While caregivers are often thrown into their role in an instant, the ACS hopes the video series will help individuals with areas such as drain care, safe lifting of their loved on, pain management, recognizing signs of infection, medication management, nutrition, and managing common side effects from cancer treatment.
As part of the video series, ACS ambassador Nene Leakes – star of the reality tv show, The Real Housewives of Atlanta – shared her personal story for caring for her husband, Gregg, who was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2018.
“She talks about, from a patient perspective, the impact cancer had on their lives and how they've grown as a result of it and kind of some lessons learned,” Cannady said.
“When Gregg got diagnosed with cancer, our entire family had cancer. 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,” Leakes said in a press release issued by the ACS. “I don’t know if there’s a right way or wrong way to do it, but I was very stressed out and there isn't anything that can ever prepare you for this.”
Cannady noted that she hopes the video series will help to improve cancer survivorship and reduce caregiving-related health problems
“We've really made a commitment to be the resource to rely on during your cancer journey as well as the patient,” she added. “Knowing that we have resources and support specifically for you (the caregiver), and that you're not forgotten, we understand your experience and we appreciate your role, and we are here to support you.”
To watch the series, visit cancer.org