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What do I need to know about caring for someone with AIDS-related cancer?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner
If someone you care for has AIDS-related cancer, they may face complex, lengthy, and possibly difficult treatment for both the cancer and their HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection. As with anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, you can help by offering to cook, run errands, or do other daily tasks, or even by simply lending an ear -- your loved one may need to talk about their worries and feelings. Encourage them to enjoy their normal activities as much as possible.

AIDS-related cancers carry their own special risks, partly because the HIV infection weakens the immune system. This can let cancers grow faster and make them more difficult to treat. (AIDS and cancer treatments both require care to avoid passing on illnesses, including foodborne illness, travelers' illnesses, or animal-related illnesses.) AIDS-related cancers can be fatal. However, with today's anti-HIV medications, patients are more likely to survive AIDS-related cancers. Encourage the person to take all medications and other treatments, and to get to all medical appointments.

Continue Learning about AIDS-Related Cancers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.