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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Nine out of ten people looking after someone with cancer feel angry

This news post is about 2 years old

Maggies launches its You Care, We Care campaign by highlighting pressure on carers

A study has revealed almost 90% of people looking after someone with cancer have experienced feelings of anger at their situation.

In the recent survey carried out by OnePoll for cancer support charity Maggie’s, it was also revealed that that 71% of people feel guilty for feeling angry and the same figure don’t know what to do with these feelings when they experience them.

Maggie’s Ambassador, writer and broadcaster Janet Ellis understands the range of emotions living with and looking after someone with cancer brings. She lost her husband John in 2020 after living with cancer for four years.

She said: “I completely get this. Helping to look after someone you love who has cancer often brings with it some unexpected and unwelcome emotions. It’s exhausting, both physically and mentally and that alone can change the dynamic of your relationship.

“It’s easy to feel despondent, frustrated, guilty and yes, sometimes, angry about what’s going on and even with the person at the heart of it. It’s not how you think you’ll react and that can be frightening and worrying in itself.

“That’s why it’s really important to make sure you care for yourself, too and seek support, advice and guidance if you need it. Maggie’s is so fantastic at offering all this – and for free –to anyone looking after someone with cancer. You can just go to a centre and have a chat with the friendly staff, who’ll do everything they can to help.”

Maggie’s recognises that many people looking after someone with cancer don’t identify as a carer which is why this month the charity launches its campaign – You Care, We Care – highlighting the pressures and psychological impact felt by those closest to people living with cancer and reminding everyone that Maggie’s supports family and friends of people with cancer, saying, if you care about them, we care about you.

Anger, guilt and helplessness are all emotions that Maggie’s professional staff see in their centres daily from people caring for others with cancer and why the charity’s free psychological support is just as important for family and friends as it is for the people with cancer themselves.

In 2021 carers sought support from Maggie’s more than 80,000 times.

Dame Laura Lee, chief executive of Maggie’s, said: “A cancer diagnosis sends a ripple through the whole family, but with so much focus on the person with the diagnosis the needs of close family and friends can be forgotten. And yet, they can need just as much support as the person diagnosed.

“We also know that when family and friends find the support they need, there is a hugely positive impact on the person with cancer.

“Yet many people looking after a friend or family member with cancer don’t consider themselves to be carers or realise that we can support them too.

“I hear many people say things like ‘I’m not a carer – he is my husband’ or ‘I don’t think of myself as a carer, we are just in this together’ – many people don’t need or want a label, but that doesn’t mean we can’t support them.

“We want everyone to understand that whether someone thinks of themselves as a carer or not, our centres are waiting to welcome them.  It might just be somewhere to take a moment for themselves, or to speak to our expert staff about the variety tailored support we can offer, including better understanding treatment options, money worries and psychological support.

“Coming to Maggie’s for support for yourself is the best way possible of supporting the person you love with cancer.

Since Maggie’s opened its first centre in 1996, the charity has developed a programme of support that is proven to help people with cancer, as well as family and friends, take back control.

Maggie’s professional staff include psychologists, cancer support specialists and benefits advisors and is funded by voluntary donations. For more information and to find your nearest centre visit