How To Offer Support To Friends And Family Members Who Have Cancer

A diagnosis of cancer impacts people’s lives in many ways. Not only do they have to change their lives and refocus their priorities on battling and surviving the disease, they may also suffer from depression, feelings of isolation, and financial worries. Friends and family members of cancer patients want to help and provide support, but they’re not always sure how to do it. The following are a few tips for supporting a loved one who has cancer.

Listen When A Loved One Needs To Talk

Sometimes, the best gift a friend can offer is a listening ear. Good listening requires patience, acceptance, and a willingness to resist the temptation to talk and give advice. Medical professionals can offer the best advice regarding a patient’s treatment plan. A friend or other loved one only needs to listen and offer understanding and sympathy. Visitors should look to someone else to express their own feelings about their friend’s illness.

Offer Specific Practical Help

When someone is sick, friends are quick to say, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” But, most people find it hard to ask for help, and they may not want to risk asking for something a friend isn’t able to provide. However, friends can offer specific help, such as taking care of yard work once a week, bringing groceries, taking children to and from activities, or bringing a meal. Another form of practical help is attending doctor visits with the patient and taking notes. Most people have a hard time remembering what their doctors say due to stress.

Offer Gifts That Bring Pleasure

Small gifts can provide much-needed pleasure and even laughter. Visitors can bring DVDs of their friend’s favorite movies or music CDs to enjoy together. Craft supplies, books and magazines, puzzles, adult coloring books, and cosmetics are other items that can make good Cancer Gifts. Skincare products, especially lotions, can be perfect for someone who is having radiation treatment, but it’s best to avoid scented products. Food and beverages are usually not good gifts, since patients with certain types of cancer, like bladder cancer, may have eating restrictions.

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