Caring for a loved one who has been diagnosed with cancer is not a role people ask for. However, more than 2.8 million partners, children, parents, friends and neighbors in the U.S. are caring for someone living with cancer, and that number is on the rise. For caregivers of those with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) – the most common type of leukemia in adults – that role presents its own unique set of challenges. To help identify and address the unmet needs of those caring for someone living with CLL, AstraZeneca is partnering with the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).
"Caring for another person can be a challenging, intense experience, and we're interested in learning how to better support the friends and family behind the person who is living with CLL," said C. Grace Whiting, J.D., President and CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving. "Research on cancer caregiving, particularly adults who are impacted by late-onset cancer, is still emerging. This project in partnership with AstraZeneca and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society will equip the field with the knowledge we need to improve how we delivery care and support people and families."
When someone hears from their doctor that they have cancer, life changes in the blink of an eye. But a cancer diagnosis extends beyond the person living with the disease to also impact their family, friends and loved ones. Caregivers play a critical role in a person’s care and take on new roles and responsibilities at each stage of the journey. As a result, caregivers can experience emotional, psycho-social and financial challenges that often build over the years. Yet, despite these unique needs, most people are unaware of the challenges caregivers face, and more individualized resources are needed to support them.
“At The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, we want caregivers to know they are not alone. We are focused on helping caregivers work on self-care while providing a wide range of education and support to help them manage their caregiving responsibilities,” said Gwen Nichols, MD, LLS Chief Medical Officer. “It starts with our LLS Information Specialists – master’s level oncology professionals – who can guide caregivers to our trusted, free services and resources.”
“We recognize the unique expertise of the National Alliance for Caregiving and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and share their commitment to raising awareness of the essential role caregivers play for people living with chronic lymphocytic leukemia,” said Chatrick Paul, Senior Vice President, Head of US Oncology, AstraZeneca. “It’s an honor to be able to partner with these organizations in our collective efforts to better support caregivers. Together, we hope to provide support for this under-recognized, yet vital, component of care.”
This week marks the close of National Family Caregivers Month, an annual observance that honors those who provide caregiving to family members. However, our shared commitment to supporting a more educated and empowered caregiver and patient experience extends beyond just this month.
As part of this multi-year partnership, we will launch a survey specifically designed to identify the challenges and key areas of unmet needs faced by caregivers of loved ones living with CLL. Results of the survey will help inform resources to support and recognize the important work caregivers do to care for those living with CLL, from diagnosis through treatment and beyond.