As I’ve recently become PCA (Personal Cancer Assistant) to the lovely B, I thought I’d let you know the services you could expect, should you contract cancer and take on a PCA yourself.

PCA responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Researching your condition and treatments
  • Writing lists of questions for your consultants
  • Accompanying you to consultations, asking prepared questions and taking notes
  • Chasing test results
  • Helping to interpret incomprehensible test results
  • Obtaining authorisation from your health insurer for consultations and procedures
  • Sitting by your hospital bed when you have surgery
  • Phoning your family when you’re unable to do so
  • Practicing speech exercises with you
  • Nagging you to take your medication
  • Taking your sedatives themselves, in times of need
  • Crying with you, and on you
  • Shaving your head
  • Keeping your HR department updated on your condition
  • Applying for your critical illness insurance and private health insurance
  • Updating your friends via a random and irreverent blog
  • Driving you around eg. to Richmond Park, if you fancy a walk amongst deer
  • Applying for disability rights eg. blue parking badge (admittedly fuelled by their own selfish parking desires), disability rail card
  • Putting you into the recovery position after a seizure

I think that’s about it…



  1. Yes, I get it as I’ve been there! Let’s form a club. I would add:

    Also, taking your loved one on a break when you think they are fit enough and bringing them back for urgent treatment a day early.

    And generally trying to project manage them out of something that isn’t really amenable to project management techniques, which generally don’t include line items like showing empathy.

    I think you are better at it than I was.

    1. I’m not sure how good at it I am, but I’m quite organised and I love a good form. Forgot the trips away – I’m driving B to Wales next week!

  2. Great list! Just a tad exhausting I imagine!

  3. […] I am no stranger to the SWL, in fact it’s one of the skills I bring to the table in my role as Personal Cancer Assistant. […]

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