How to deal with final stage lung cancer as a caregiver

Updated February 21, 2017

As a caregiver, it is crucial to learn how to deal with final stage lung cancer symptoms, pain, and problems your loved one may experience. You are working hard to deal with end of life issues, and getting the support you need to keep going, even in the face of a hopeless battle against lung cancer. The pain your loved one feels makes matters worse for you. Here are some steps you can take to learn how to deal with final stages of lung cancer, while still providing the support your loved one needs.

Remember that lung cancer is a disease that affects a lot of people. Your loved one is not the only one and neither are you the only caregiver having to struggle through end of life issues. Although it sounds somewhat morbid, remembering that you are not alone goes a long ways toward helping you keep your sanity.

Join a cancer caregiver support group, if you have not already done so. Your local hospital oncology centre will have information about various groups that are currently meeting in your area. Ask your loved one's treating physician, if you are not sure if any of the groups will actually meet your needs. She might have more information about groups that are meeting informally. You may also use the Internet to locate one.

Enlist respite care to give you the time away from your loved one. At the final stage of lung cancer, the tumours will have already metastasised and are causing disruptions, pain, and problems with other bodily systems. Your loved one needs your loving care more than ever, but in order to get out of the house and attend support group meetings, you need to have a good working relationship with a respite care volunteer, who can step in and take over the care while you are temporarily out of the house. The Internet is your best bet for finding either volunteer or privately funded respite care workers.

Order hospice care for your loved one. As the end of life nears, the cancer requires consistent numbing with morphine and other substances, and this can be an overwhelming task for one person. A trained hospice worker can perform the actual medical measures, and allow your loved one to be at home in familiar surroundings. This also enables you two to spend more quality time together, that is not taken up with taking readings, administering medications, and easing symptoms.

Meet with a solicitor to ensure that all end of life issues are discussed, and have been taken care of. Although, it may feel ghoulish, it will be a vital issue for your loved one to be able to leave you and the family well provided for, with a minimum of tax debt after death. Do not be afraid to ask the attorney to come to your home and bring whatever papers need to be signed.

Ask for what you need. While your loved one suffering from final stage lung cancer is the one who will receive the primary care, you are just as important. Sometimes, even friends and family members will forget about your needs, and solely focus attention, thoughts, and prayers on your loved one. Speak up for yourself or have a close friend do so on your behalf.


Do not become a lone wolf and try to handle the problems, the tasks, and keeping up your own health and emotional wellness yourself. You do need help and the less you think it is necessary, the more you are in need of the support that groups and respite care have to offer.

Things You'll Need

  • Internet access
  • Support Group
  • Attorney
  • Hospice care
  • Respite care
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About the Author

Based in the Los Angeles area, Sylvia Cochran is a seasoned freelance writer focusing on home and garden, travel and parenting articles. Her work has appeared in "Families Online Magazine" and assorted print and Internet publications.