Cookies on the Bupa website

We use cookies to help us understand ease of use and relevance of content. This ensures that we can give you the best experience on our website. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy to receive cookies for this purpose. Find out more about cookies



Coping with cancer at home

A cancer diagnosis and its treatment will disrupt your normal routine. You will probably have to make at least some changes to your day-to-day activities. Your cancer specialist or nurse will advise you about the symptoms you may get and outline how often you will need to attend hospital. Everyone feels different during their treatment and copes in different ways. Make sure you ask for support if you need it. Here are some things to consider that may affect you at home.


  • Managing tiredness at home Managing tiredness at home

    There are many reasons why you may feel tired or even exhausted when you have cancer. Tiredness can be a side-effect of cancer treatments, a symptom of your cancer, or the result of problems with eating and sleeping.

    Tiredness can make everyday activities, such as doing housework or the weekly food shop, more difficult than usual. However, there are ways you can make these day-to-day tasks easier.

    • Prioritise the tasks you need to do.
    • Spread tasks such as vacuuming or cleaning, out over the week, by doing a little bit each day.
    • Do tasks sitting down when you can.
    • Rest in between tasks and don’t rush them.
    • Make a list of items you need from the shops before you go. Or try internet shopping instead.
    • Ask for help with packing or carrying your bags when you’re at the shops.
    • Store your cleaning items and equipment in easy-to-reach places.
    • Cook simple meals that don’t need much preparation.
    • Cook more than you need so you can freeze some for another day.
    • Ask for help from friends or family.

    There are other steps you can take to help deal with the tiredness of cancer.

    • Take regular exercise that’s suitable for you. There’s evidence that this will reduce the impact of tiredness. Talk to your doctor or nurse about the type of exercise that’s right for you.
    • Have plenty of rest but take care not to disrupt your night time sleep by taking naps during the day. It’s better to sit quietly rather than lie down.
    • Enjoy a hobby that helps to build your concentration, such as crossword puzzles.
    • Join a relaxation or support group.
  • Telling your friends and family Telling your friends and family

    Whether it’s your parents, siblings, children, grandparents or friends, a cancer diagnosis can affect everyone differently. There’s no right or wrong way to cope with cancer. It can help if you’re honest with your loved ones and keep them informed about how you’re feeling and the support you’d like.

    Family and friends can be a great source of practical and emotional support. They can help you cook, take you to appointments and be there to talk to and look after you.

    Your family will also need time to adjust to your diagnosis and the impact it will have on their lives as well as yours. Chat with loved ones about your treatment and recovery so they have realistic expectations of what to expect from you and your illness.

    Here are some tips to help you talk to your friends and family about cancer.

    • Talk to people in a way that suits you. This might mean face-to-face, on the phone, by email or letter.
    • Introduce the subject of cancer slowly and let people ask questions.
    • Don’t overload people with too much information. Tell people small chunks in simple, easy to understand language.
    • Listen carefully to each other and don’t rush or interrupt if someone’s talking.
  • Childcare Childcare

    Feeling tired from your treatment, as well as attending regular hospital appointments, may mean you need help looking after children in your family.

    Try to plan your time and conserve your energy for important events. Taking short breaks and getting some rest can be just what you need to get through a busy day. You may want to ask for help from friends and family or look into local nurseries, playgroups or after-school clubs.

    Explain to your children why you may not be looking after them as much as usual and talk to them about your cancer. This can help them understand and make them feel less anxious. However, spending time with your children can often take your mind off your illness and help improve how you’re feeling. So take them for a bike ride or play a board game with them, or anything else that you enjoy doing together.

  • Bupa cancer promise

    Cancer has an impact on you and your family. That’s why our health insurance comes with cancer cover as standard. Find out more today.

  • Help and support Help and support

    Being diagnosed with cancer is distressing for you and your family. An important part of cancer treatment is having support to deal with the emotional aspects of living with cancer. Specialist doctors and nurses who are experts in treating cancer can provide the support you need and may be able to visit you at home. Make sure you let your doctor or nurse know if you have any physical or emotional problems. They may be able to alter your treatment, provide advice, or let you know where you can go for more support. Your nurse can also put you in touch with support groups where you can meet people who may have similar experiences to you.

  • Resources Resources

    Further information


    • Tadman M, Roberts D. Oxford handbook of cancer nursing. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2007:100
    • Talking about your cancer. Macmillan., published 1 July 2012
    • Helping children when a family member has cancer. American Cancer Society. Treatment., published 7 August 2012
  • Has our information helped you? Tell us what you think about this page

    We’d love to know what you think about what you’ve just been reading and looking at – we’ll use it to improve our information. If you’d like to give us some feedback, our short form below will take just a few minutes to complete. And if there's a question you want to ask that hasn't been answered here, please submit it to us. Although we can't respond to specific questions directly, we’ll aim to include the answer to it when we next review this topic.

    Let us know what you think using our short feedback form
    Ask us a question
  • Related information Related information

  • Author information Author information

    Reviewed by Dylan Merkett, Bupa Health Content Team, January 2015.

    Let us know what you think using our short feedback form
    Ask us a question

About our health information

At Bupa we produce a wealth of free health information for you and your family. We believe that trustworthy information is essential in helping you make better decisions about your health and care. Here are just a few of the ways in which our core editorial principles have been recognised.

  • Information Standard

    We are certified by the Information Standard. This quality mark identifies reliable, trustworthy producers and sources of health information.

    Information standard logo
  • HONcode

    This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
    verify here.

    This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.

What our readers say about us

But don't just take our word for it; here's some feedback from our readers.

Simple and easy to use website - not alarming, just helpful.

It’s informative but not too detailed. I like that it’s factual and realistic about the conditions and the procedures involved. It’s also easy to navigate to areas that you specifically want without having to read all the information.

Good information, easy to find, trustworthy.

Meet the team

Nick Ridgman

Nick Ridgman
Head of Health Content

  • Dylan Merkett – Lead Editor
  • Graham Pembrey - Lead Editor
  • Natalie Heaton – Specialist Editor, User Experience
  • Pippa Coulter – Specialist Editor, Content Library
  • Alice Rossiter – Specialist Editor, Insights (on Maternity Leave)
  • Laura Blanks – Specialist Editor, Quality
  • Michelle Harrison – Specialist Editor, Insights

Our core principles

All our health content is produced in line with our core editorial principles – readable, reliable, relevant – which are represented by our diagram.

An image showing or editorial principals

                  Click to open full-size image

The ‘3Rs’ encompass everything we believe good health information should be. From tweets to in-depth reports, videos to quizzes, every piece of content we produce has these as its foundation.


In a nutshell, our information is jargon-free, concise and accessible. We know our audience and we meet their health information needs, helping them to take the next step in their health and wellbeing journey.


We use the best quality and most up-to-date evidence to produce our information. Our process is transparent and validated by experts – both our users and medical specialists.


We know that our users want the right information at the right time, in the way that suits them. So we review our content at least every three years to keep it fresh. And we’re embracing new technology and social media so they can get it whenever and wherever they choose.

Our accreditation

Here are just a few of the ways in which the quality of our information has been recognised.

  • The Information Standard certification scheme

    You will see the Information Standard quality mark on our content. This is a certification programme, supported by NHS England, that was developed to ensure that public-facing health and care information is created to a set of best practice principles.

    It uses only recognised evidence sources and presents the information in a clear and balanced way. The Information Standard quality mark is a quick and easy way for you to identify reliable and trustworthy producers and sources of information.

    Certified by the Information Standard as a quality provider of health and social care information. Bupa shall hold responsibility for the accuracy of the information they publish and neither the Scheme Operator nor the Scheme Owner shall have any responsibility whatsoever for costs, losses or direct or indirect damages or costs arising from inaccuracy of information or omissions in information published on the website on behalf of Bupa.

  • British Medical Association (BMA) patient information awards

    We have received a number of BMA awards for different assets over the years. Most recently, in 2013, we received a 'commended' award for our online shared decision making hub.

Contact us

If you have any feedback on our health information, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us via email: Or you can write to us:

Health Content Team
Battle Bridge House
300 Grays Inn Road

Find out more Close

Legal disclaimer

This information was published by Bupa's Health Content Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition.

The information contained on this page and in any third party websites referred to on this page is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor is it intended to be for medical diagnosis or treatment. Third party websites are not owned or controlled by Bupa and any individual may be able to access and post messages on them. Bupa is not responsible for the content or availability of these third party websites. We do not accept advertising on this page.

For more details on how we produce our content and its sources, visit the 'About our health information' section.

ˆ We may record or monitor our calls.