Helping Your Family Member or Friend

If your child, parent, another member of your family or a close friend has cancer, your life may also change. Families and friends often juggle new and old obligations to support their loved one before, during and after treatment. At the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre (SRCC) at Southlake, we’re here to help.

For family members or friends caring for an adult or child with cancer, here are several ways you can help your loved one during this experience:

Be Informed

One way you can be a true partner in care is to take steps to learn about your family member or friend’s care and treatment. Here are three ways to get informed:

  1. Attend Appointments with Them – We encourage our patients to bring a caregiver, family member or friend to their first visit and subsequent appointments with their care team. As our patients receive a lot of information during these visits, you can help take notes and review information together after the appointment.
  2. Ask Questions – In the I am a Patient sections, this site covers the stages your family member or friend will go through as a patient: Diagnosis; Treatment; and Beyond Treatment. We encourage you to explore these sections. As you review these sections, you may think of more questions. Please make a list of your questions and bring them with you to your family member or friend’s appointments. We want to ensure our patients and their caregivers have the information they need.
  3. Help them Find Answers – You may want to do some of your own research and discuss the answers you find with your family member or friend’s care team.Visit our Patient & Family Resource Centre, which is located next to the Welcome Centre reception desk on the Lobby level. Open and staffed by trained volunteers, from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., it provides free access to current, reliable and accurate health information and internet access.

Caring for a Child with Cancer

If your child has cancer, check our Children with Cancer section to learn about how we partner with The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) to deliver care close to home through our POGO Pediatric Oncology Satellite Clinic.

Support them through their Treatments

We encourage patients to have a family member or friend to drive them or help them travel to treatments and provide onsite support.

If this is not feasible and the patient can’t afford travel cost or is not physically well enough to use public transit, there are other options. Speak with a social worker on their care team about the situation or contact the Canadian Cancer Society, to learn how its Wheels of Hope program can help you find a solution.

Encourage Supportive Care

We provide supportive care programs and services to help patients and their families improve everyone’s quality of life — from diagnosis, during treatment and beyond, including survivorship and end-of-life care. These programs and services are tailored to meet each individual’s physical, emotional, spiritual and practical needs. Explore the Supportive Care section of this site to learn about our supportive care programs and services. Encourage your family member or friend to ask for a referral from a member of their care team, if you think one of our programs or services will help them.

Caregiver Programs through the Hospice Network

Various hospices across the region offer helpful information and programs for caregivers. Check these links on various hospice websites for more information: