Here are some tips to help you through the caregiver process.

  1. A lung cancer diagnosis is a shock to everyone involved, and it takes time to adjust. Keep that in mind as you and your loved one settle into your new relationship.
  2. Learn as much as you can about your loved one's diagnosis and treatment options. The more you know, the more effective you'll be. See Lung Cancer 101 to get started—but take it slowly. You don't need to know everything at once.
  3. Try to keep a positive attitude and a sense of humor—it's beneficial to both you and the person you're caring for.
  4. Plan to spend time together outside of the illness, like going to a movie or spending time outdoors; it will remind both of you that you have a relationship separate from lung cancer.
  5. Have hope for the future; don't be afraid to talk about future plans.
  6. Participate actively in clinic visits. Take notes and ask questions. See Asking the Right Questions for printable lists you can bring with you to doctor visits.
  7. Encourage your loved one to engage in his or her usual activities as much as possible.
  8. Ask other people to help. Make up a list of activities that others can sign up for. You may find that friends and family members are eager to pitch in once you tell them specifically what you need.
  9. Seek out other lung cancer caregivers. It helps to talk to people who know first-hand what you're going through. LUNGevity's LifeLine Program can match you with a volunteer support partner.
  10. Know your limits and be realistic about how much of your time and energy you can give.