Cancer Caregiving


Informal or family caregivers are individuals who provide care to a loved one that is typically uncompensated, takes place at home, involves significant amounts of time and energy, and requires the performance of tasks that may be physically, emotionally, socially, or financially demanding. For those caring for someone with cancer, these tasks can include watching for treatment side effects; helping to manage pain, nausea, and fatigue; assisting with treatment decision-making; administering medication; and changing bandages. However, caregivers are often underprepared to perform the many tasks required of them. In addition, the physical and psychosocial health outcomes of cancer patients and their caregivers are often related and can have lasting and long-term health impacts for both patients and caregivers. Despite these challenges, the healthcare system is providing more and more cancer care in outpatient and community-based centers rather than in tertiary or in-patient centers, which increases the day-to-day demands on informal caregivers.

NCI is conducting a number of activities in service of building a research program in informal cancer caregiving. This work is expected to improve the characterization of informal caregivers and the care they manage; accelerate the development and standardization of measures and metrics for cancer caregiving; promote development and testing of interventions aimed at improving outcomes for patients and caregivers; and facilitate the creation of tools to better integrate cancer caregivers into healthcare delivery.

Funding Opportunity Announcements

Related Reports and Activities

Patient Resources