Nine in ten people caring for someone with cancer in Scotland feel angry, charity says

Nine in ten people looking after someone with cancer have experienced feelings of anger at their situation, according to cancer support charity Maggie’s.

A small survey by the charity also found more than 70 per cent of those who were angry felt guilty about it, and 80 per cent said they did not have enough support to deal with their anger.

Dame Laura Lee, Maggie’s chief executive, said those looking after people with cancer could need just as much support as the patient.

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It comes as the charity launched a new campaign, ‘You Care, We Care’, to highlight the impact of caring on loved ones with cancer.

Shawn Puller, 54, from Edinburgh, looks after his partner Gordon Shaw, 41, who has been living with a brain tumour since 2012.

Mr Puller moved to Edinburgh from the US and works remotely as director of a music centre while spending the rest of his time caring.

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'No-one knows about any of this before they become a carer, but every carer is extremely vulnerable in all sorts of ways,” he said.

Shawn Puller (R) has cared for his partner Gordon Shaw for five years.

“There’s this sense of guilt I have – the stress and sense of overwhelming.

"Everything you read says the person with the tumour has all these feelings, but the carer has feelings of staying focused at work, trying to take care of him, trying to stay supportive and yet I can have a bad day too.

"But it’s almost like if you’re the carer, you can’t have a bad day. Or my bad day isn’t worth talking about with my partner.”

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

Dame Laura Lee said many people caring for loved ones don’t realise they can access support.

She 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.”

The survey was conducted in November last year, with 250 responses from adults in the UK who are or have been carers of people with cancer.

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