Lean on me when you're not strong.
I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on Bill Withers


Carers may be a relative, friend or neighbour. Informal or unpaid carers make a very important contribution to the care of people across Australia.​

Support can be help with practical things (such as getting shopping or food), physical things (getting to appointments, doing some housework or giving medications) or emotional support (providing company and understanding) .

The role of a carer is very valuable and often a very rewarding role, but it can be time consuming, exhausting, and demanding. While developing this resource, carers told us that the most important person is the patient, but that carers need some looking after too.​

Sometimes what we find is if the patient is feeling anxious or depressed the partner is also feeling that anxiety. We find that the patient’s getting that addressed but the partner feels they can’t leave the patient. They can’t have a bit of time to themselves because they need to be there for their partner. So they can struggle.

Cancer Psychologist

The resource Caring for someone with cancer (pdf) may be a useful resource for you.

I think one of the hardest things for me is it’s quite draining being very positive and supporting my father.

Irene, carer of her dad with pancreatic cancer

Caring for carers

Carers usually put the patient first, worry about them suffering and coping with a challenging schedule of caring – so they can need some caring for themselves. Below are some services that care for carers:​

Carers Australia provides a range of supports and services to improve the wellbeing & resilience of carers across Australia- Call 1800 242 636 for more information. ​

Carers Couch provides support, advocacy and a range of activities to help carers.​

Carer support groups – The Pancare Foundation and Cancer Council have support groups for carers to meet face to face or on the telephone.

Carers want to know how to support and be strong for their family member that’s got pancreatic cancer. So they can be the strength behind them and suggest things for them

Sonia, Pancare patient services coordinator

Carer Payments​

  • A Centrelink carers payment is available for people who provide full-time daily caring 
  • A carers allowance is available for those providing significant assistance.

A social worker or the Cancer Council 13 11 20  can provide you with more details and assistance with applications for carer payments. You can ask your specialist nurse or doctor to put you in touch with a social worker. ​