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J Support Oncol. 2012 Mar-Apr;10(2):57-64. doi: 10.1016/j.suponc.2011.10.003. Epub 2012 Jan 4.

Family and caregiver needs over the course of the cancer trajectory.

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Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA.


When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, family members often assume responsibility for providing care. They are typically involved not only with the diagnostic and treatment phases of care but also across the care trajectory and into survivorship. These caregivers are a primary source of support to individuals with cancer. The purpose of this article is to present an overview of the challenges, needs, and roles of family caregivers over the course of the cancer treatment trajectory and to discuss what support the professionals can provide. Caregivers require support, coordination, and communication with health care providers if they are to be successful in carrying out tasks of care. Concern for caregivers as partners in patient care and caregiver outcomes deserves attention from health care professionals. Considering the caregivers' value to the health care team, this role should not be underestimated.

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