are an essential part of
the healthcare team
A caregiver is anyone who helps a person with his or her healthcare needs and activities of daily living at home. This may include a spouse, partner, child, relative, friend, co-worker, neighbor—or a combination of these.
- As a caregiver, you have an important role in watching for both physical and emotional changes in your loved one's medical condition
- You also play a key part in carrying out treatment plans, helping to ensure medicine is taken properly, and helping to manage side effects that may occur
Don't be afraid to speak up or ask for help if you are not sure of something. Your loved one's healthcare team can help you or point you in the direction of someone who can.
If you are a caregiver for someone with metastatic MTC, read further to learn about the kind of support you can provide.
You can aid in treatment support, even if you are not a healthcare provider. For example, you can:
- Help with taking medicine
- Help with managing side effects
- Go to doctor appointments and help with taking notes
- Find out about resources and financial aid options
Planning ahead will help prepare you for important medical appointments.
- Learn a little about MTC
- Learn about how treatment works and what to expect during and after treatment
- Make a list of questions and concerns with your most important questions first. Remember that you can also talk with a nurse or other member of the healthcare team. You may be able to ask questions by phone or e-mail, too
- Remember to take notes or bring a tape recorder when visiting the doctor, so that afterwards you can review and remember what you discussed
Being an advocate for your loved one—communicating with the healthcare team, asking questions and raising concerns, reporting side effects or changes in his or her health—can also assist in your loved one’s treatment. Some people are not comfortable discussing their health and need extra support communicating. You may be able to help by asking questions during office visits or by keeping a file or notebook of your loved one’s medical information that you bring to medical appointments, including:
- Names and dosages of medicines
- Test and procedure dates, test results, and other records
You can assist with day-to-day life management, including:
- Organizing travel to and from appointments
- Helping to manage bills, insurance claims, and prescription refills
- Organizing a file or folder with these and other important documents
- Helping with household tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and running errands
- Helping with daily activities such as dressing, bathing, and exercising
Emotional support for your friend or loved one
Being emotionally available—and asking your loved ones how much help they would like—will remind them that they are not alone and that they have help if they want it.
- Be available to listen and offer support through the ups and downs
- Help your loved one stay connected to family, friends, and community
The amount of help they need or want may change at different times. It may depend on their physical and emotional health at the time or the particular treatments they are undergoing. Being aware of these challenges will help them as much as it will help you.
Taking care of yourself
Many caregivers say they wish they had asked for help earlier. It’s common to feel like you should be able to manage it all yourself or that you don’t want to burden anyone else. But you need to look after your own health and well-being, so that you can be in the best shape to care for your loved one.
- Ask for help from family and friends, and accept help when it’s offered! They could help with cooking meals, running errands, dealing with paperwork—anything that will give you a little time to take care of yourself
- Make sure you eat well, get some exercise and enough rest, and keep up with your own medical checkups and medications. Your physical and emotional health are important
Getting emotional support
While you provide emotional support for your loved one, there may be times when you feel alone, worried, sad, or angry. These are all normal, valid feelings, and it’s important for you to have someone to turn to for reassurance and support.
- Talk to someone you can confide in—a trusted friend or family member
- Join a cancer support group. Connect with other caregivers and share experiences with others who are in similar situations
- Speak with a professional social worker or counselor if you need help coping or you are feeling depressed or anxious
While every situation is different, there are people who can understand what you are going through and can support you along the way. These organizations may be good places to look for information, assistance, and support groups for caregivers:
Caregiver Action Network
COMETRIQ® (Kō-mĕ-trik) (cabozantinib) is a prescription medicine used to treat people with medullary thyroid cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
It is not known if COMETRIQ® is safe and effective in children.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
What is the most important information I should know about COMETRIQ?
COMETRIQ can cause serious side effects which can lead to death, including:
- A tear in your stomach or intestinal wall (perforation), or an abnormal connection between 2 parts of your body (fistula). Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get:
- severe pain in your stomach-area (abdomen)
- coughing, gagging, and choking especially when eating or drinking
- Severe bleeding (hemorrhage). Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get any signs of
bleeding while taking or after you stop taking COMETRIQ, including:
- coughing up blood or blood clots
- vomiting blood or if your vomit looks like coffee-grounds
- red or black (looks like tar) stools
- menstrual bleeding that is heavier than normal
- any unusual or heavy bleeding
What are the possible side effects of COMETRIQ?
COMETRIQ may cause other serious side effects, including:
- See "What is the most important information I should know about COMETRIQ?"
- Blood clots, stroke, heart attack, and chest pain. Get emergency help right away if you get:
- swelling or pain in your arms or legs
- shortness of breath
- feel lightheaded or faint
- sweating more than usual
- numbness or weakness of your face, arm or leg, especially on one side of your body
- sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- sudden trouble walking
- dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- a sudden severe headache
- Wound healing problems. If you need to have surgery, tell your healthcare provider that you are taking COMETRIQ. Your healthcare provider should stop your treatment with COMETRIQ at least 28 days before any planned surgery, including dental procedures. Your healthcare provider should tell you when you may start taking COMETRIQ again after surgery.
- High blood pressure (hypertension). Hypertension is common with COMETRIQ and can be severe. Your healthcare provider will check your blood pressure before starting COMETRIQ and during treatment with COMETRIQ. If needed, your healthcare provider may prescribe medicine to treat your high blood pressure.
- Severe jaw bone problems (osteonecrosis). Symptoms may include jaw pain, toothache, or sores on your gums. Your healthcare provider should examine your mouth before you start and during treatment with COMETRIQ. Tell your dentist that you are taking COMETRIQ. It is important for you to practice good mouth care during treatment with COMETRIQ.
- A skin problem called hand-foot skin reaction. Hand-foot skin reactions are common with COMETRIQ and can be severe. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have rashes, redness, pain, swelling, or blisters on the palms of your hands or soles of your feet.
- Protein in your urine and possible kidney problems. Symptoms may include swelling in your hands, arms, legs, or feet.
- Reversible Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome (RPLS). A condition called reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome can happen during treatment with COMETRIQ. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have headaches, seizures, confusion, changes in vision, or problems thinking.
Your healthcare provider may change your dose, temporarily stop, or permanently stop treatment with COMETRIQ if you have certain side effects.
The most common side effects of COMETRIQ are:
- redness, swelling or pain in your mouth or throat, or mouth sores. Tell your healthcare provider if these symptoms prevent you from eating or drinking.
- weight loss
- decreased appetite
- hair color turning lighter
- change in taste
- pain in your abdomen
- increased liver function blood tests
- decreased calcium and phosphate blood levels
- decreased white blood cell counts
- decreased platelet counts
- increased bilirubin blood levels
Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
These are not all the possible side effects of COMETRIQ. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Before you take COMETRIQ, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions including if you:
- have a recent history of coughing up blood or bleeding or any unusual bleeding
- have an open wound
- have high blood pressure
- plan to have any surgery or a dental procedure
- have liver problems
- are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. COMETRIQ can harm your unborn baby. If you are able to become pregnant, you should use effective birth control during treatment and for 4 months after the final dose of COMETRIQ. Talk to your healthcare provider about birth control methods that may be right for you. If you become pregnant or think you are pregnant, tell your healthcare provider right away.
- are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if COMETRIQ passes into your breast milk. Do not breastfeed during treatment and for 4 months after the final dose of COMETRIQ.
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription or over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. COMETRIQ and certain other medicines may affect each other causing side effects.
How should I take COMETRIQ?
- Take COMETRIQ exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to take it.
- Do not take COMETRIQ with food. Do not eat for at least 2 hours before and at least 1 hour after taking COMETRIQ.
- Swallow COMETRIQ capsules whole with a full glass (at least 8 ounces) of water.
- Do not crush or open COMETRIQ capsules.
- If you miss a dose and your next dose is in:
- less than 12 hours, take your next dose at the normal time. Do not make up the missed dose.
- 12 hours or more, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Take your next dose at the normal time.
What should I avoid while taking COMETRIQ?
Do not drink grapefruit juice, eat grapefruit or supplements that contain grapefruit during treatment with COMETRIQ.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Please click here to see the full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warnings, for COMETRIQ.Back to top