Recent study shows that although shock, anxiety and depression are experienced by carers, there are also beneficial consequences from their labour of love.
The study which involves 429 carers of loved ones suffering from cancer, show positive impacts allow carers to keep going.
About half (50 per cent) of the carers experienced shock after a loved one was diagnosed with cancer, and 45 per cent suffered depression.
However, based on the study by the University of Western Sydney School of Psychology, about 46 per cent of women and 68 per cent of men also reported enriched relationships with those they were caring for.
While much attention has been given to the negative aspects of being a carer, less is known about the positive impacts and outcomes of this relationship, said Professor Jane Ussher who is the lead researcher of the project, which included 67 interviews with carers.
Carers often described their situation as a real priviledge, said Prof Ussher and the research found that many felt they had consequently benefited from the experience.
Prof Ussher said, Their role as a carer was positioned as a 'gift' or an 'honour' which they feel privileged to have experienced.
This positive reflection of their role as carer is to such an extent that many participants in the research resent any suggestion that the caring experience may have been negative at all.
About 44 per cent of the women surveyed experienced a sense of personal growth as a result of their caring, compared to only 20 per cent of men.
The reason for lower figure for men was because many men found personal fulfillment in other aspects of their lives such as work, said Prof Ussher.
Sexual intimacy of carers of partners suffering from cancer declined by 70 per cent, the study showed.
Further study into sexual intimacy between carers and partners with cancer is being explored by Prof Ussher's team, with an aim to provide intervention and higher accessibility to counseling.